Spicy Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

This recipe was adapted from The Bitten Word blog, which sadly no longer exists. They adapted it from Bon Appetit years and years ago. It’s an amazing combination of flavors and textures, sweet, spicy, salty, and perfect fall and winter fare, and I like it best served on top of polenta. That said…………. I’ve made this many many times and can tell you it’s best made over a few days. One for marinating, one, even two, for stewing and sitting, and then another for reheating, and best of all, eating. It’s well worth the wait!

Makes 8- 10 cups

1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt), trimmed as much as possible, and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 large Spanish onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped

1 celery rib, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1 teaspoon Greek oregano

3 chipotle chilies in adobo, mashed

1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes, including the juice

4 cups chicken stock, divided

1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 zucchini, trimmed, halved and cubed


1/2 red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/2- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds

  1. Put the pork, 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 2 days. Toss from time to time.
  2. Place a large pot over medium-high heat and when it is hot, add the pork mixture and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes in all. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork to a bowl. Discard the fat. Set aside and proceed with the recipe.
  3. Reheat the pot and when it is hot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. There may be enough fat in the pot to not need this. Add the onion, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved pork and mashed chipotles and stir well.
  4. Add the tomatoes and 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to low, partially cover and cook one hour.
  5. You will want to remove the fat (there will be a lot) and the time to do it is now. Transfer as much of the liquid as possible to a container and refrigerate until the fat has hardened on the top, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. The fat will rise to the top and be easily removed. Discard the fat (or save the spicy salty fat for another use) and pour the liquid back into the pot.
  6. Add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock, the butternut squash and zucchini and cook over low heat until very tender, 1- 1 1/2 hours.
  7. For the garnish: Put the onion and lime in a small bowl and let sit at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
  8. Serve the stew with the lime- marinated onion, cilantro leaves and pumpkin seeds.