Pumpkin puree adds a rich creaminess to this Pork, Black Bean, and Pumpkin Stew without adding milk or cream.
Enjoy this stew on a chilly winter day with a piece of crusty bread slathered in butter or crisp cornbread drizzled with honey.
Chunks of pork shoulder are browned and then slowly cooked with onions, peppers, black beans, garlic, pumpkin puree, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and chilies in a delicious broth with a splash of orange juice.
To serve a crowd, try serving the stew ladled over some cooked rice.
This stew is so simple to make. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. Most of them are pantry staples and all you need to do is sear the meat and toss everything together in your slow cooker.
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Black Beans: For simplicity, I wrote this recipe using canned black beans but you could also substitute soaked and cooked dried beans.
Aromatics: The onion, pepper, and garlic give great flavor to the stew. You can use a white or yellow onion.
Broth: Use either chicken or vegetable broth. I really love these Better Than Bouillion jars. They take up so much less space than cartons or cans of broth and taste amazing. Simply mix the recommended amount with water and viola delicious broth.
Pumpkin Puree: The pumpkin adds some natural sweetness, which compliments the spice of the peppers. Be sure to purchase pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling which often has added spices and sugar.
Orange Juice: Orange juice adds acidity and balances the stew.
Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: The chipotle peppers add a bit of spice and smokiness. If you are not a fan of spicy only use one or two peppers. You can also remove the seeds to reduce the spice level even more.
Spices: Spices include cumin, oregano, and cinnamon. If you have fresh oregano you can use that but you will want to double the amount.
Salt: I add at least a pinch of salt to all of my dessert recipes. Salt complements and intensifies the other flavors. For all of my recipes, I use Morton Kosher Salt which is saltier than Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt. If you are using Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt you will want to double the amount of salt you add.
Pork Shoulder: Pork shoulder (sometimes called pork butt or Boston butt) is one of those meats that is usually best cooked low and slow. Cutting the pork into three pieces helps to reduce the cooking time and creates more surface area to sear and create a crisp crust.
Garnish: Garnish the stew with some fresh cilantro, chopped green onions, and pickled red onions to add brightness and an attractive pop of green. Here is my favorite recipe for pickled onions. Simple mix the brine together and add the onions. The onions will pickle while the stew cooks.
Large Skillet: When searing meat I love using my Lodge Cast Iron skillet.
Slow Cooker: This is the slow cooker I use most often. It is large and great for travel because the lid latches on tight helping to prevent spills.
Combine the onion, green pepper, garlic, broth, pumpkin puree, orange juice, chipotle peppers, cumin, oregano, salt, cinnamon, and black beans in your slow cooker.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper making sure to season all sides. Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook the pork, turning with tongs, until brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Place pork in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours until the pork is tender and shreds easily. If you are in a hurry you can cook on high for 3-4 hours, but I think the pork shoulder has a better texture when it is cooked low and slow. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
Shred pork and stir into the bean mixture. Pour any stray juices back into the stew.
Serve over optional cooked rice and garnish with cilantro and green onions.
Like most stews, this one tastes even better the day after it’s made. Store it in the fridge for up to a week, and reheat leftovers gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Frequently Asked Questions
This stew can be frozen for up to three months. After the stew has cooled place it in an airtight container to freeze. Be sure to label the container with the date and the contents.
The stew can be reheated from frozen in the microwave or in a pot on the stove.
The ideal temperature for a pork roast that you plan to shred is between 190 and 205 degrees Farenheight. The high internal temperature allows the collagen to break down making the meat easier to shred. Use a thermometer like this instant-read thermometer from Thermoworks to check the internal temperature. It is recommended by America’s Test Kitchen and is super fast and accurate.
There are two reasons your pork may not be easy to shred.
1. It wasn’t cooked long enough. Make sure the internal temperature is at least 190 degrees Farenheight. At that temperature, the connective tissue that holds the roast together begins breaking it down making the roast easier to shred.
2. You accidentally bought a leaner cut of meat like pork tenderloin that was not meant for longer cooking and has dried out.
- For simplicity, I wrote this recipe using canned black beans but you could also substitute soaked and cooked dried beans.
- Slow cooker meals are great for busy days. For an even quicker easier morning, prepare everything you need for your slow-cooked meal the night before, put the ingredients into the slow-cooker dish, cover and store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the slow-cooker dish from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room-temperature for 20 minutes to avoid shocking and cracking the ceramic insert when you turn the slow cooker on.
- Keep the lid closed. Everytime you lift the lid heat is released and the cooking time increases.
- For an extra filling meal serve over cooked white rice.
- Adjust the spices to your tastes adding more or less depending upon your preferences.
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