{recipe} Pork and Prune Stew

I know the words “stew” and “prunes” are not the two sexiest food words, especially in combination, but damn–prunes and pork together, slow-cooked until they’re rich and saucy–I have to tell you, it’s an excellent combination, especially on a cold winter night.

This is one of my favorite types of recipes: the kind where you use a small number of simple ingredients and take advantage of time and temperature to meld them together into something much greater than the sum of their parts. The recipe is really easy from a technique standpoint, but you’ll need about an hour and a half to two hours of cooking time to get it from start to finish. I recommend using a lean pork, because with fatty pork the sauce can get oily and you’ll have to skim off the fat, which adds an extra step. Of course, this tastes very good (better?) reheated a day or two later, so you could also make it in advance, chill it in the fridge overnight, skim off the fat, and reheat it.

I adapted this from a recipe I saw in Real Simple magazine, but ironically I found their recipe to be not actually all that simple. I simplified it by cutting out several unnecessary steps and a few ingredients.

Recipe: Pork and Prune Stew
serves 8


  • 4 lbs. lean pork stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Tblsp butter
  • 1 Tblsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 12 oz. prunes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tblsp brandy
  • 2 Tblsp heavy cream


  •  Season pork liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy pot. Add pork and cook, turning and stirring to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
  • Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add wine, prunes, bay leaves, and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, until pork is tender. If there is a lot of fat on top of the liquid, skim it off and discard it.
  • Remove cover and raise heat to boil and reduce a bit, about 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in brandy and cream. Serve with crusty bread or over noodles.

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3 Responses

  1. camille says:

    Real Simple doesn’t really seem to be about simplicity. I mean, it’s the size of a rural phonebook, costs $7, and once had a diamond necklace in their holiday gift guide… for preteen girls. That’s all by way of saying I am not surprised you felt like simplifying their recipe!

    • Karen says:

      @camille haha, so true – I was reading it at a friend’s house yesterday and it suggested you re-use an ashtray as a soy sauce dish for your sushi!! I was like – seriously?! 🙂

  2. martha says:

    Im going to make this and just not tell anyone there’s prunes in it. They’ll never know.