Pork with Fennel & Peppers

I'm not sure what the pepper situation is out there if you have to buy them. I am STILL trying to clear all of ours off the counter, although they are finally dwindling fast. (Admittedly a number of them are going to the compost.) Good thing this turned out to be quite tasty, as I made a big batch to freeze.

If you can't find stewing pork (it doesn't seem to be around much) a piece of shoulder or pork loin rib chops trimmed and cut up will do just fine. If you don't have or use wine, I would put in some lemon and/or orange juice instead. Also, you may wish to hold out a bit of the chicken stock until the end, then stir it in with 2 teaspoons arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in it, for a thicker sauce.

4 servings
1 hour 30 minutes - 1  hour prep time

2 large bulbs of fennel (4 cups sliced)
3 to 6 mixed sweet pepeprs (4 cups sliced)
1 large onion
4 to 6 cloves of garlic
500 grams (1 pound) lean stewing pork
2 to 4 tablespoons mild vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dry rubbed thyme
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon flaked red chile
1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste

Wash the fennel, and trim away the stem end. Cut off any narrow, tough stems and greenery. (Save a little of the leaves for garnish if you like.) Cut the fennel in half, removing any tough core, then slice into small bite-sized pieces. Wash, core and deseed the peppers, and cut them into bite-sized pieces. Peel the onion, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Peel and mince the garlic. Check that the pork is trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, and cook the peppers over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until they are softened, slightly browned and much reduced in volume. Add them to a large stewing pot. Add a little more oil to the skillet if needed, and cook the fennel until similarly softened, browned and reduced in volume. Add it to the peppers. Repeat with the onion, adding the garlic just a minute or two before you add it to the stew pot. Finally, brown the pork  well in the skillet then add it to the vegetables.

Add the wine, chicken stock and seasonings to the stew. You will likely need to adjust the amount of salt depending on how salty the chicken stock is. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with rice, noodles or potatoes.

- Jennifer Sanders, Seasonal Ontario Food

For more inspiring, local recipes visit Jennifer Sanders' blog, Seasonal Ontario Food.