Pork & Beer Stew

I would stop-by the liquor store every now and then, and wander around the aisles looking for a good sale. I always end up buying a 6-pack. Nonetheless, the liquor store, much like the meat aisle of a grocery store, is such a fun trip for me. I don’t really enjoy crowded malls. It can be really stifling. Even the food court can be really chaotic and crazy and that just drive me nuts. I would usually come to the mall just to pay my bills and run-off right away. I’d make my time in that non-conducive and make believe ‘friendly’ place as short as possible.

I earnestly enjoy looking at liquor brands and prices, and thinking otherwise what kind of food I can match them with. Just recently, I started my own mini-bar of some sort to compensate my needs to relax after a long, tiring day at work. I also reckon that at least I would need a shot or two from one of the bottles whenever I would cook. Meat and beer are given items on my list. I need one or the other or both every afternoon or evening to put me to sleep. That only one or at least two small meals I eat after work is very crucial to make my next day smooth sailing. I’d munch on anything I lay my hands on when I have sat down and have finally raised my leg on the coffee table. That’s the only actual rest I get during the day. I’m standing up for almost twelve hours day; sometimes running, too, to deal with daily kitchen requirements. And sometimes, I’d think twice why I’d do such a thing, while others slack.

I recently bought a small pork shoulder cut from the meat market and decided to do some braising after a very long time. If I had remembered correctly, it was about a month or so ago since I did some real braising, and it was not Filipino cooking at all. Many Filipino dishes require long braising using basic three key components, and I really wouldn’t want to fall into that trap anymore with this pork shoulder. I also thought that I shouldn’t use tomato sauce and Red wine with the dish since these ingredients were already very common in almost all braising dishes I had seen or made. It was sort of being mediocre if I had resorted to them again. It has been all pan-fried or quick stir-fry for my dinner lately. I haven’t really done much braising due to time limitations brought about by long work hours, but with a cheap pork shoulder, I decided I would do some test with some of the liquor brands I bought for my much awaited, but still growing mini-bar. Well, I still ended up using beer.

While I was lurking and losing myself at the liquor store, I discovered a Dry Aged Oak Beer with a Rum Finish from Britain. It was a dollar off from its original price, and I always have had the urge to try it initially as a drink, and later as a cooking agent. I bought one bottle, and thought it would also be perfect for this pork shoulder.

Ingredients:
½ lb. of Pork Shoulder
1 small Pork Sausage
½ bottle of Beer (I used Ale)
1 Slice of Rye Bread, (diced or crumbled)
3-4 pcs. Red Potatoes
Chicken Stock
¾ of Sliced White Onions
2 cloves of Minced Garlic
4-5 pcs. White Mushrooms
All-spice

1. Cut the pork shoulder into small cubes, dust with flour, and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cut the Pork Sausages in bite size pieces, and pan-fry in a small pot. Remove and set aside.

3. On the same pot, start browning the pork cubes. Do them in batches if the pot is not big enough. Set aside after.

4. Remove some of the oil from the pot, turn the stove-top to medium/high and start sautéing the onions and garlic.

5. Quarter the potatoes and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set them on an oven tray.

6. Deglaze the pan with Beer, and let it boil to simmer. Add the pork cubes, All-spice, and enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Shove the pot in a 325’C preheated oven together with the potatoes for forty minutes or so until the pork is close to tender.

7. Sauté the mushrooms with garlic in a separate pan while waiting.

8. Remove the pot from the oven, and let it simmer on the stovetop. Add the diced Rye Bread and let it cook further. The Rye bread will thicken the sauce as it absorbs the liquid from the pot. Add another dash of All-spice powder and more seasoning or stock as required.

9. Leave the potatoes in the oven until they are roasted.

10. When cooked, stir in the pork sausages and mushrooms. Add the potatoes last or on the side.

I probably learned how to drink when I was about seventeen years old. I was totally hooked on it thereafter. My dad introduced me to drinking that early or late in my early adolescent life, but he had some potent potions, too hidden in a bar cart under the staircase. I really hadn’t noticed that and only realized how good they were when I learned how to appreciate liquor or alcohol just a bit later in life. He had his best and most expensive bottles bought from his travels hidden and tucked somewhere in his closet. Some were given as gifts during the holidays. I should have tried stealing one when I had the opportunity. I have no idea what had happened to them when the corner house was sold, but my mom gave me one as memento to my dad’s life here on earth.

Anyway, I’d sip some and mix them with pop or Tang [now there’s Tang na Moo (Orange-Chocolate)] when I had the chance or when there’s a party going on in the household. Of course, I’d jump in and join the crowd. Nowadays, I’d mix it with frozen cocktails. My dad would almost always open several bottles of wine to kick start a party; something to loosen up the crowd. These happened when we were already all out of school and have started our own lives. He had his ways of celebrating our return; so to speak.

Whenever I see an array of wine bottles and rows of beer and liquor in the liquor store, my eyes would pop up open not only because of the quality or where it was originally from, but basically, the exorbitant and sometimes, unbelievable price tags. I would just stare at the bottle and think three to four times before buying one. It was only now that I really had the opportunity to start a small collection; nothing close to my father’s, but something more to match the food I cook. It’s really another chapter on cooking which I’d really wanted to indulge ages ago; even prior to my marriage. Someday though, I will have my own collection in a lock and key fridge. My indoor dojo has to be put up first.



Pork & Beer Stew
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
 
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. of Pork Shoulder
  • 1 small Pork Sausage
  • ½ bottle of Beer (I used Ale)
  • 1 Slice of Rye Bread, (diced or crumbled)
  • 3-4 pcs. Red Potatoes
  • Chicken Stock
  • ¾ of Sliced White Onions
  • 2 cloves of Minced Garlic
  • 4-5 pcs. White Mushrooms
  • All-spice
Instructions
  1. Cut the pork shoulder into small cubes, dust with flour, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the Pork Sausages in bite size pieces, and pan-fry in a small pot. Remove and set aside.
  3. On the same pot, start browning the pork cubes. Do them in batches if the pot is not big enough. Set aside after.
  4. Remove some of the oil from the pot, turn the stove-top to medium/high and start sautéing the onions and garlic.
  5. Quarter the potatoes and season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Set them on an oven tray.
  6. Deglaze the pan with Beer, and let it boil to simmer. Add the pork cubes, All-spice, and enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Shove the pot in a 325’C preheated oven together with the potatoes for forty minutes or so until the pork is close to tender.
  7. Sauté the mushrooms with garlic in a separate pan while waiting.
  8. Remove the pot from the oven, and let it simmer on the stovetop. Add the diced Rye Bread and let it cook further. The Rye bread will thicken the sauce as it absorbs the liquid from the pot. Add another dash of All-spice powder and more seasoning or stock as required.
  9. Leave the potatoes in the oven until they are roasted.
  10. When cooked, stir in the pork sausages and mushrooms. Add the potatoes last or on the side.

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About The Author: Erwin

When I was growing up, my parents and I used to eat out and try different restaurants after celebrating the Sunday Mass. Moreover, during the course of the summer break, I had the opportunity to see some places which, when looking back, I had never realized how lucky I was as a teen to be able to travel. My family and I went to Europe and some parts of the United States, and what I saw along that path of my life inspired me to become a 'Chef.' The 'whites' they wore for me, during those growing-up and finding 'myself' years, portrayed a sort of fascinating and powerful figure in an extremely sophisticated, higly inviting and invigorating work place; and still maintain an unblemished and clean uniform after a very busy service. That picture of a 'Chef' stuck to my head for so many years. True enough, with meager resources left to spend for the youngest, that dream never happened. Life went on. I went to university and studied an insignificant course, Business Management, and after graduating, I ended up working as a Credit and Financial Analyst in the banking industry in Manila; slugging it out in the corporate arena in Makati. It was the first taste of being called a 'yuppie' and was almost always looking forward to an after-office eating and drinking extravaganza in the expanding and growing Makati Business District; and, of course, the weekend. Anyway, forging ahead to my life today, that dream as 'Chef' stayed in the back of my mind all the time that when I left the Philippines for Toronto in 2003; and after finally settling down on my own in 2005, I had started studying Professional Culinary Arts Courses in the City College to get that almost long-forgotten 'dream' going again. It was a Continuing Education Course, and more or less, students who have also shifted careers or who were trying to find work (like myself) as a newly landed found ourselves working with pots, knives and fire which I believe and I felt, everyone in class have never, ever touched during their past, professional lives. Since then, I have been working in and out of different kitchens; flipping eggs and hamburgers, grilling steaks, shoving bread and chicken in a 500'C oven, and almost anything that can be either deep-fried or toasted just to serve hungry, sometimes pesky, customers. I became a 'grease' cook; a short-order cook with no definite place of employment, and definitely not a 'Chef.' My articles are based on the after-thoughts of my past and present day experiences in this fast-paced, starkling, and sometimes disheveling kitchen environment. I never imagined that a kitchen 'worklife' turned that way as against the 'Ideal' environment I had thought about for years. No regrets. During this journey, I've discovered food which I've never thought I'd be able to taste. I learned to appreciate wine and travel more; now that I have understood the culture of food to society. That was non-existent when I was growing up. This journey has not ended. I'm still discovering and still learning. It's a tough industry to be in and for what's next or for where I'll finally end up in remain a sordid mystery.

Discuss - 6 Comments

  1. Tito Eric says:

    Firstly, that dish … I can see myself feasting on it.

    Secondly, I should also try it … just going through the chillers at a local liquor store, and perhaps, start collecting even just beers. When it gets really hot here and Bohol. I can star enjoying a bottle or two.

    Your dad lived a good life.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. that pork stew looks delish :-) I am sure I can eat two plates of rice with that :-) Dropping by from YS
    Jessica Cassidy recently posted Nestle’s Cookies n’ Cream crunch

  3. Iska says:

    I started young as well and guess what? My dad had a bar under the stairs, too! Now I got ‘tamed’ and can only take beer. And, occasionally, good wine. But ofcourse I don’t mind having them in my food!

    This dish is a must-try for me. Coming from a beer person :-)

  4. peachkins says:

    interesting dish, Iska… I bet my hubby will like this…
    peachkins recently posted Iced Coffee

  5. Dexie says:

    I’ve always wanted to cook with beer. I’ll make this sometime. I’m sure my husband would love it too :)
    Dexie recently posted Domino’s Artisan Pizza: Spinach & Feta

  6. Jenn says:

    Wow…this is a good dish that will make me eat a lot of rice! :)
    Jenn recently posted Ted’s Old Timer La Paz Batchoy

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