Pork Neck Bone Stew

Pork neck bone stew

Despite the fact that it’s late March, last week it snowed a little, and temperatures dipped below freezing. So I made one last stew for the season.

At least I hope that’s what I did.

I sincerely hope that this is the last stew I’ll make for a while. I sincerely hope that there will be no more need or desire for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal for many, many months. You know, because the weather is going to warm up!! Right?? Please???

Pork Neck Bone Stew

But, I must say, this was quite the stew to go out on. When I saw that Donald Link had just published a new cookbook, I couldn’t resist picking it up. I love his first one, which centers around New Orleans and Louisiana cuisine, so it’s a good bet that his follow-up project will be outstanding, too.

Possibly even better, which is quite a strong statement to make, I know. This cookbook is all about the Deep South culinary traditions and dishes. And while I’m perfectly happy to continue living in New York City indefinitely, I do have quite a fondness for the comforting food and bold flavors of America’s Deep South.

Pork Neck Bone Stew

This stew was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Seriously, there are no words. Matt was absolutely effusive in his praise for this one, not only as he ate it but days later too. Before he’d even finished his bowl, he asked when I planned to make it again. (Um, eat the leftovers, then we’ll talk). And, as he accurately pointed out, this would make some very fine game day fare next fall.

Oh, and don’t be wary of the pork neck. It’s just meat; the only reason it’s not widely eaten is because it’s a tough cut (needs to be slow cooked) that doesn’t have a ton of meat on it, which, on the plus side, makes them extremely inexpensive. But their flavor is really bar none once it’s been cooked. The stew is a bit spicy, but it won’t blow your head off. It’s kind of a project, but more than worth the effort. Don’t deprive yourself of this one. Trust me. Just don’t.

pork neck bone stew

{One year ago: Mexican “Hot” Chocolate Ice Cream}

Source: adapted from Down South by Donald Link

Ingredients:
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp cayenne
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
3 lbs. pork neck bones
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Scant cup of canola oil
1 lb. smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
6 fresh bay leaves
Steamed white rice, for serving

Directions:
Combine the salt, paprika, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, and white pepper in a small bowl to form a spice mix. Add ¼ cup flour and mix well. Season the pork neck bones all over with the spice and flour mixture by tossing in a large bowl. Do not discard the spice mixture in the bottom of the bowl.
Measure out the canola oil in a measuring cup. Pour enough into a Dutch oven to just coat the bottom. Preheat over medium-high, and when hot, add the pork necks. Brown them on all sides, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Transfer to a platter.
Lower the heat to medium. Add the remaining canola oil and the 1/3 cup flour to the drippings in the Dutch oven. Cook, whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon constantly, for 25 minutes, to make a dark roux. You can add some of the remaining spice mixture if there seems to be too much oil to flour. Watch this carefully, and if you see smoke, lower the heat immediately. I usually make roux on medium-low to low heat. You do NOT want to burn it.
Once the roux is made, return the heat to medium and add the onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and remaining spice mixture. Cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes, until softened. Now add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the mixture simmers very gently. The sauce should be a nice gravy consistency. Add the pork necks, smoked sausage, and bay leaves.
Cook, covered, over medium-low to low heat, for 3 to 4 hours, until the meat falls off the bone when coaxed with a fork. Make sure your heat is not so high that the bottom of the stew scorches. You can add a little water if it is getting too thick.
When the meat is completely tender, remove the pork necks with tongs to a plate and use 2 forks to shred the meat from the bones. Add it back into the stew. Remove the bay leaves. If you want, you can use a solid spoon to carefully skim the fat off the top (I did).
Serve in bowls over a spoonful or two of white rice. And you can garnish with scallions or chives if you want, but it’s not at all necessary.

11 responses to “Pork Neck Bone Stew

  1. Julie,
    This is another reason to buy half a pig–for the neck bones. I’ve used smoked pork neck bones before, to flavor greens, but I’ll have to look for unsmoked.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks! Oh I would so love to buy half a pig, but to say there’s no room for that is quite the understatement-HA! I had never thought of smoked neck bones flavoring braised greens, but why not? That sounds terrific.

      Yeah, my grocery store always has them raw in packaged meats case. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t know if they carry smoked ones or not…

  2. Pork neck bones will be on our menu this week. Have had them before but I like your spices. They are always tender and lean. Ralph

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  4. Oh my word this was so delicious!!! So rich and silky and meaty!
    I only used 1 tsp of cayenne, I didn’t want it to be too spicy for my girls (ages 8 & 3). It was still pretty spicy for them although I liked the warming affect you got with each swallow. They muscled through it though, they loved the flavor but drank a lot of milk. Next time I’ll half the cayenne again. I’m thinking of using the bones to make pork broth and use that instead of my home made chicken broth.
    Really delicious. It’s worth the work!

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know, I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed it! This is one of my favorites. 🙂

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  7. I’m making this now. It smells amazing. But when does the smoked sausage go? I guessed and added when the neck bones went back into the gravy.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Hi Lorraine,

      Thanks for spotting that typo, I fixed it now. Your guess was correct 🙂

      Hope you enjoyed this!

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