Pressure Cooker Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes



We've been pounded by snowstorms this winter. I'm in the mood for comforting braises. If it seems like I've been working the pressure cooker hard, well...there you go.

Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes, made in the pressure cooker, is now a regular in my recipe rotation. I've made pork stew with sweet potatoes, and pork stew with prunes. Pam Anderson combined them in Perfect One-Dish Dinners. She makes the recipe in a pseudo-pressure cooker, tightly wrapping aluminum foil over a dutch oven. I have a pressure cooker, so I adapted her recipe to work with the real thing.

The first time I made this recipe, it was for my in-laws. Then, a few weeks later, I cooked it for my side of the family. Diane asked for it again this week, to fight the ice storm we were having. Make a recipe three times two months? I never do that; I'm a fickle cook, always moving on to the Next Big Thing. I realized I have a new favorite on my hands.

Why is this recipe so good?  The sweet potatoes and prunes melt completely under pressure.  The result is pork coated with a thick, earthy, and very sweet sauce. This is one of the few stews my kids eat without prompting - they love dipping bread into that sweet sauce.

Looking for a pressure cooker recipe stew to hold the Snow Miser at bay? Give this one a try.
*Don't have a pressure cooker? That's OK - use Pam's aluminum foil braising technique as described in Lamb Shanks with White Beans.  Or see my notes below...

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Prunes

Adapted From: Pam Anderson Perfect One Dish Dinners

Equipment:

Ingredients:
  • 5 lbs pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp flour (All purpose is fine)
  • 1 cup red wine (preferably a cheap blend, like a cote du rhone)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade) or water
  • 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 2 cups pitted prunes
  • salt and pepper to taste


Directions:
1. Brown the pork: Sprinkle the pork evenly with 2 tsp kosher salt. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook the pork in two to three batches, depending on the size of your pressure cooker. Cook each batch for six minutes total, turning the pork halfway through the cooking time to brown it on two sides. Remove the pork to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible.

2. Saute the aromatics and deglaze the pan: Reduce the heat to medium, then add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tsp kosher salt to the pressure cooker. Saute the onions and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes, scraping occasionally to release the browned pork bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the tomato paste and thyme, stir, and saute for one minute. Add the flour and stir until the flour looks wet. Add the red wine, and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

3. Cook the stew: Put the pork (and any juices in the bowl) into the pressure cooker, then the chicken stock, sweet potatoes, and prunes. Stir to combine, scraping the whole bottom of the pot one more time. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, increase the heat to high, and bring the cooker up to high pressure. (Read the fine pressure cooker manual for how this works with your particular cooker). Reduce the heat to maintain the pressure, and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Remove the pressure cooker from the heat, and let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes. Taste the stew and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Under Pressure (exciting, I know...)

Variations:
*Don't have a pressure cooker? Cook the recipe in a dutch oven. In step 3, instead of pressure cooking on high, bring the pot with all the ingredients to a boil. Then cover the pot and move it to a 350*F oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, and season to taste.

*The sweet potatoes melt into the stew, and thicken the sauce into a gravy.  If you want sweet potato chunks, they need to be protected from the pressure.  Instead of stirring them into the stew, I wrap the cubed sweet potato in aluminum foil.  Float the foil package on top of the stew just before locking the lid, and when the cooking time is over, unwrap the foil and stir the sweet potato chunks into the stew.

Notes:
*Serve with the same type of wine you added to the pot, of course.

*Speed up the browning by using two pans. Instead of browning all the pork in the pressure cooker, brown one batch in a fry pan and the other batch in the pressure cooker. Remove all the pork to a bowl, continue with the onions in the pressure cooker, and simmer the wine in the fry pan, scraping the browned pork on the bottom of the pan into the wine. Those browned bits are pure flavor - don't lose them! Pour the wine from the fry pan into the pressure cooker when the recipe says it is time to add the wine.

*This stew is great right after cooking.  But, if you have the time, resting it overnight takes will improve the flavors even more.  After cooking, let the stew cool down, then refrigerate overnight. The next day, scrape the fat cap off the stew and reheat it. Your patience will be rewarded.

*This recipe freezes well; don't worry about making too much. I freeze it in 2 cup containers for future lunches.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Pressure cooker pork chili with beans
Pressure cooker beef short ribs
My other pressure cooker recipes

Adapted from:
Pam Anderson Perfect One Dish Dinners

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10 comments:

Pam said...

This looks great, and I've printed out the recipe so I'll finally put my new pressure cooker to the test!

I've got all the ingredients except the pitted prunes. Where do I find these - in the raisin section?

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Pam:

Yes, they're next to the raisins. Look for pitted plums or prunes; they're both the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Ahhhhmazing!

FYI - I have an electric pressure cooker. For some reason the prunes and sweet potatoes stayed intact. I used a spoon and easily mashed them to thicken the consistency.

I'd love to know the nutritional content if you have it. (calories, carbs, fat, protein, etc).

Thank you for sharing! I'm sure my hunter/fisherman will appreciate a thermos full in the middle of a cold day.

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Anonymous:

Thank you!

My guess for the sweet potatoes and prunes is: Electric pressure cookers usually have a lower "high pressure" than stovetop pressure cookers.
See this post for the details, but in general, they cook about 20% slower. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes to get the same results I did.

Or, leave it alone - it sounds like it worked for you; if you liked the results, go with it.

As for nutritional content - no, I don't have that info. I recommend FitDay.com. Back when my wife was on Weight Watchers, I would enter all the ingredients and and divide by my estimated number of servings to get her "points".

ellen said...

Hi I only wanted to make 1/2 of this recipe. Should I cut all of the ingredients in half including the liquids?

Thanks!

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You should be fine, but check your pressure cooker manual to make sure you don't go below the minimum liquid amount. Most modern pressure cookers are OK with 1/2 cup of liquid, but some need 2 cups of liquid. 

If I'm doing my math right, halving the liquid leaves 1 1/2 cups. If you need 2 cups of liquid, then go with 1/2 cup wine and 1 1 1/2 cups chicken stock.

Linn said...

I made this recipe tonight and my family LOVED it!!  I only made 1/2 the recipe but did add a bit more chicken broth for liquid.  I can see why this was a hit with your family as my 13 yr-old couldn't get enough of it.  Can't wait to eat the leftovers to see how much more the flavors meld!  Thanks for sharing and adapting the recipe for pressure cooking.  I have an electric pressure cooker and this recipe worked just fine in it.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

Panhandler said...

could pork be replaced by chicken with similar results?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Yes, you can. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs, and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.

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