Fireworks Normandy Pork Stew with Garlic Butter and Herbs

I've long been a fan of using compound butters as starters for soups and stews. This recipe was adapted from the current October 2021 issue of Martha Stewart and seemed ripe for trying this technique. It's hearty, it's savory, it's French and absolutely perfect for a cool October evening. And what doesn't sound better than garlic butter to add to flavorful stew? I used boneless pork sirloin for this, but you can use boneless pork shoulder too. My kids love these kind of hearty meals with a healthy side of wide egg noodles. My husband and I love a good fresh loaf of dense peasant or country bread to soak up the rich broth. You can't lose, either way, you'll be slurping up seconds in no time. 

Fireworks Normandy Pork Stew with Garlic Butter and Herbs (serves 6-8)

2 lbs boneless Pork shoulder or whatever cut you have on hand, just not chops or sausage

6 Tbs Fireworks Garlic Butter

8 slices thick cut bacon coarsely chopped 

13 small shallots trimmed and peeled

3 tbs unbleached all purpose flour

1 dried bay leaf

20 ounces hard dry cider, Normandy, Basque or European style

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

6 carrots peeled and cut on the bias into 2 inch long pieces

6 celery stalks cut on the bias into 2 inch long pieces

1/2 cup sour cream or creme fraiche

2 tbs Dijon mustard

Chopped fresh parsley or tarragon leaves or a combination of both

Preheat your oven to 350. Season pork generously with salt and pepper. Melt butter in an oven proof braiser pan or low wide straight sided skillet over medium high heat. When the butter foam subsides add the pork and brown it all over. This will take 10-12 minutes. Try not to crowd in the pan, you may need to do in two batches. Transfer to a plate when fully browned.

Add bacon and shallots to the pan, reduce to medium and cook, stirring a few times, until bacon renders the fat and shallots turn golden brown in places, 6-8 minutes. Return pork and any accumulated juices to the pan. Sprinkle evenly with flour, stir, and cook 1 minute. Add bay leaf and cider; boil 1 minute. Add broth and return to boil.

Cover and transfer to the oven, braise 45 minutes. Stir in carrots and celery, cover, and return to the oven until pork is fork tender and carrots are tender but still holding their shape, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

While the stew is braising, in the last 10 minutes cook the wide egg noodles according to package instructions. Set aside. When stew is done, remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in creme fraiche or sour cream and Dijon. Top with herbs; serve with more creme fraiche or sour cream and Dijon. Ladle over the egg noodles if you used them. Sizzle. Spread. Boom.