Five-Spice Pork Stew

This post comes to you from the French Quarter, where we are staying for a few nights on a much-needed vacation. We just inhaled lungfuls of powdered sugar at Cafe du Monde, and then ventured back to our hotel as the temperature slowly dropped. It’s supposed to be in the 30s tonight, and a warm stew like this is just what I look forward to on a cold evening.

I needed to use up a bunch of produce before we left and spotted a bag of five-spice powder in the pantry as I was gathering my ingredients. If you’ve never had it, five-spice powder is encompasses flavors of sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, and salty and usually contains fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and peppercorns. It is popular in Chinese cuisine, and sounded like just the thing to season my pork stew (I had just dug out a head of bok choy to use, and it just made sense). It’s flavor is pretty prominent here, so cut back on the amount you use if it seems like too much. I cooked this in a slow-cooker, but if you want to do it on the stove, just combine all ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook over low heat for about 2.5 hours, till the meat is tender.

We’re off to find a place to watch tonight’s Saints game. Adieu!

Five-Spice Pork Stew

2 lbs pork tenderloin (or your favorite cut of pork), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
3 bell peppers, chopped (I used two red and one green)
1 bunch bok choy, chopped
2 cups spinach, chopped
2 tsp minced ginger
1.5 tsp five-spice powder
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 cups chicken broth or water

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir well. Cook over high heat for 5.5 hours (or low heat for 10 hours).

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