Romanian Pork and Potato Stew

Slow Cooker Beef and Chicken Stew
Slow Cooker Beef and Chicken Stew Diana Rattray
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 bowls
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
527 Calories
21g Fat
47g Carbs
37g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 527
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 27%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Sodium 788mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 47g 17%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 16mg 81%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 1341mg 29%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Romanians are big pork eaters, especially in winter. This one-pot casserole or stew of pork and potatoes (cartofi cu carne de porc) is an easy-yet-hearty recipe to whip up the night before and allow to flavor overnight. It's also just as good eaten the day it's made. It's even a good candidate for a slower cooking if the pork and onion are browned before adding to the cooking. Lovage, parsley, and dill are popular herbs used in Romanian cooking, and I would heartily recommend parsley and dill as additions to this stew. Lovage I would save for a Romanian sour soup or ​ciorbă.
This dish is excellent served with Romanian cornmeal porridge or mamaliga or polenta in Italian (the mamaliga recipe is below and can be doubled), but this stew can be served on its own. Here is a larger photo of Romanian potatoes with pork stew.

This recipe calls for a Mediterranean seasoning blend called Vegeta, which you can buy online or in some grocery stores, or you can make it yourself. You can also substitute all-purpose seasoning for Vegeta.

Ingredients

For The Stew:

  • 1 pound pork loin, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons lard, or bacon fat, or oil, for frying

  • 2 large onions, finely chopped

  • 2 cups water, or stock, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon Vegeta seasoning, or all-purpose seasoning

  • 1 teaspoon hot or mild paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

  • 1 tablespoon parsley, or dill, for optional garnish

For The Mamaliga:

  • 1 1/4 cups stock, or water

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or Vegeta seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal

  • 1 tablespoon sour cream, optional

  • 1 ounce feta cheese or telemea, optional to taste

  • 1 bunch fresh herbs (such as dill, parsley, or lovage), optional for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. To make the stew: In a large skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven, sauté the pork in lard, bacon grease or oil until brown on all sides. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add water or stock to cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, cover and let simmer until pork is almost tender.

  2. When pork is almost tender, add the tomato paste, Vegeta, paprika, salt and pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Then add the potatoes. Return the mixture to a boil, adding more water or stock, if necessary, reduce temperature, cover, and simmer until potatoes and pork are tender.

  3. Remove from heat and add chopped dill or parsley. Serve with mamaliga.​​

  4. To make the mamaliga: In a small saucepan, bring the water or stock to a rolling boil. Add the salt or Vegeta and butter, stirring to melt. Using a wooden spoon, add the cornmeal very gradually, while stirring constantly in the same direction.

  5. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until it thickens and starts to pull away from the sides of the pot, about 35-40 minutes. Serve hot.

If desired, while mamaliga is still hot, add more butter, cheese, and herbs. Mamaliga can also be served with a dollop of sour cream. Mamaliga can be poured into a pan. When cool, it can be flipped out onto a cutting board, cut into squares and sauteed in butter until crispy.