Pork and Figs, with herbs and onions

If you thought I’d become lazy about taking photos you would be absolutely right. For a change I really wanted to tuck into this lunch whilst it was still hot. Instead of faffing around with heating, reheating and taking photos until I’m red in the face and the air has been well tainted with expletives. So, after a couple of quick shots and dismantling all ASAP I feasted at my leisure. Hah! That aside there were a couple of things about this that surprised me. The dried figs I bought are very sweet eaten straight out of their box. Pleased to say that’s not the case with this gravy. Especially as I’m not overly keen on any savoury that’s too sweet, nor too salty for that matter. The tiny and numerous seeds of the figs left me bemused initially as they’re slightly crunchy – something I happened to like. The meat, importantly, was melt in the mouth delicious. This is incredibly easy to make and prep, even if it takes nearly two hours to cook. That’s the beauty, or beast, about using diced pork or any other type of meat that needs to be cooked as a casserole or within a stew. I prefer this cut of meat as I’m much more keen on letting things cook whilst I get on with other stuff. And the end result is always incredibly tasty.

Pork and Figs, with herbs and onions

INGREDIENTS:

Pork and Figs, with herbs and onions

  • oil
  • 315g x diced pork, suitable for casseroles (more diced pork to personal taste), rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 x large onion, halved, peeled, trimmed and sliced crossways
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • a little water
  • 1 x large or 3 x smaller sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed and any wood cut out and discarded
  • 1 x large stem fresh curly leaf parsley
  • 3 x organic garlic cloves, root end cut off and discarded, garlic kept whole
  • 1/2 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 500ml x cold water
  • 2 x carrots, peeled, trimmed and cut in halves
  • 2 x parsnips, peeled, trimmed and cut in halves
  • 1/4 x teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 x dried figs, stem end cut out and discarded, figs sliced
  • 1/2 x packed teaspoon freshly grated ginger – optional
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). When pan is hot add enough oil to coat its base. Carefully place the diced pork inside and allow to settle. Reduce heat to No 3 if there are any signs of scorching. Brown the meat on all sides, stirring occasionally. This took at least 20 minutes on my hob.
  • When meat is nicely browned add the onions and bay leaf and stir through. Put a lid on top and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring through occasionally and reducing heat to No 2 if necessary. Don’t worry too much if the meat catches a little at this stage. Although scorching isn’t wanted.
  • Add a little water to help loosen any sediment, then add the herbs with the garlic cloves. Stir through. When the root veg are ready add those to the pan along with the water, cayenne, half a stock cube and sliced figs. Stir through to combine and up the heat to No 4 with a lid on pan that isn’t fully closed to allow some steam to escape. This might seem to be a lot of water at this stage but the stew has to cook, after it reaches boiling point and the heat reduced to No 2 for about 40 minutes to ensure the meat is melt in the mouth tender. The root veg can be removed when cooked and reheated again just before serving. The gravy will reduce, and if it isn’t reducing enough remove the lid and up the heat again to either No 3 or 4 until the gravy reduces to the consistency needed. Taste for any needed seasoning and add ginger toward the end of cooking time, if using (leaving at least 10 minutes for the ginger to infuse).

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This is how the stew looks shortly after adding a little water and the garlic. The root veg follow, along with more water.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


38 comments

    • Today, as you can see, I caved in to my stomach. Actually, not quite true. I just wanted to eat like a normal person, for a change. Irony is, this wouldn’t have spoiled if I had reheated it. Yet, I so wanted to eat those cute littl’ potatoes smothered in that melted butter!

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    • It’s a combo I’ve never had before. I would love to make this with fresh figs but they’re not available. I did cook with caution as I thought the dried figs might be overly sweet. Could’ve used even more!

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    • For something relatively basic, as in few and simple ingredients, this really had a good depth of flavour. And so easy to make. Will definitely cook this again. And hopefully be a little more adventurous the next time. Might even get better photos 🙂

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    • As you can probably gather I’m not a big meat eater. This I think would be suitable for beef and lamb as the flavour isn’t predominately figs. If anything it’s just a simple herb stew that I especially like the idea of cooking as most of the time I’m not in the kitchen 🙂
      – Think I’m still traumatised by that photo of Moosh!

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  1. I know what you mean with the photo, at least now that its summer the dinner doesn’t get so cold so fast… I make a pork with prunes, soon I´ll try it with figs.

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    • Pork and prunes is really nice! As for the figs I’m wondering how this would taste with fresh figs instead. I’ll have to wait until those are in the shops.
      – Two posts in a row with lousy photos – ouch! Will try harder today.

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  2. I love pork stew with any dried fruit, and your version looks fantastic. I make a simple pork stew with prunes and dried apricots sometimes, but will definitely try figs in the future!

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    • I just love the idea of a stew I can treat almost as if it’s in a slow cooker! Especially as the weather is so nice here right now.
      – Have to admit I was surprised with this stew. Regardless of how simple it is. The figs surprised most of all as they’re so sweet by themselves. Not so in the stew. Will definitely make this again.

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  3. Pork and fruit are so wonderful together, your stew looks so delicious, I wish I could have a bowl right now. Using dried figs is perfect, just a hint of sweetness, did you not like the ginger or just that it isn’t necessary?

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    • Aren’t they? As in pork and fruit together. Yes, it’s just a hint of sweetness from the dried figs – you’re so right. That surprised me. The ginger isn’t really that necessary in this. I already have a pork and ginger stew, sort of, on here. Don’t even remember that recipe. Do remember it was good. Now that I’m getting decent fresh ginger maybe I should pay that recipe another visit 🙂

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      • Granted it was warmer there than here this morning. 🙂 But you don’t have the oppressive humidity that makes even mild summer temps unbearable. Cooking is the last thing on our minds!

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        • Ah, humidity! Didn’t realise. It’s my least favourite. Give me 30 at the coast with a nice breeze and I’m happy. Here, it was half that this morning. Still, really nice this afternoon.
          – Can imagine re last thing on your minds. I visited Houston during mid November several years ago and one of the days was swelteringly warm and humid. Couldn’t quite believe it! And it wasn’t even that hot for over there. I wouldn’t survive.

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  4. This looks like a fantastic stew. I have never used pork in a stew. I”m not opposed, can imagine with is quite tender and flavorful. Love the parsnips and carrots…and not to repeat an earlier comment/conversation but I imagine the ginger would add a nice subtlety to the stew.

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    • The ginger didn’t add quite as much to this as I’d thought. Although I was cautious with both the dried figs and ginger. And I didn’t want too much heat. So no hot chillies used. Perhaps more of both the figs and ginger the next time.
      – I’d like to try this, without the ginger, using stewing beef. Might even do that over the weekend as I’ve been eating very little meat recently. Possibly because of summer. With it I might go with using lots of whole black peppercorns instead. And possibly some green veg rather than root.

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      • Oooo. a summery stew. I like it. Especially peppercorns. I am going to try my hand on some lamb stew this afternoon. If it is a success it will earn a spot on the blog. It’s so funny how cooking and blogging work. Sometimes I throw something together quickly and it’s a perfect blog post (well, in my opinion) and when I really try to create a good…say roast chicken…visually it doesn’t brown properly! Good grief.

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  5. Oh man, how did I miss this post?! The pork looks divine J. What a gorgeous flavour combination (posting this on fb now for all of my freakishly cold Australian friends. The weather here has been pretty dreary recently and I imagine that the pork would be wonderfully warming!)

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    • I don’t envy the dreary weather! However, I won’t gloat about how beautiful it was today 🙂
      – This is one of the recipes I’ve got to cook again. Partly to reshoot, which probably won’t surprise you. Although, I’ve just stuffed my face with oven roasted Cumberland sausages, that were nicely fiery, so any more pork will have to wait for a while.

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