Slow-cooked to tender perfection, this Spanish pork stew is robust, warming and full of flavour. Full of healthy vegetables and light on calories, it’s a taste of the sunny south to brighten winter evenings.
Winter Blues, Perfect Stews
For years, we worked long hours in an office. In winter, I always felt tired and grumpy from the lack of light. It was dark when we left home and dark when we left the office. All too often I ate lunch at my desk, missing out on winter sunlight. I have changed my life since then, but it is a plague that affects too many of us.
When I got home I wanted my supper straight away, which meant I didn’t have time to cook the gutsy casseroles that I enjoy when it is dark and cold outside. I finally solved the problem by buying a slow cooker; they’re not expensive – you can buy one for as little as £10. All you need is one with high, low and warm settings.
My slow cooker proved invaluable. I would leave it on all day while I was at work so that my dinner was ready when I got home. The food would never burn or dry out if I was late back (despite the worst efforts of the London Underground), and the contents of the pot would be delicious.
I work from home now, but I still love my slow cooker. It uses the same amount of electricity of a lightbulb and it transforms cheap, tough cuts of meat to melting, mouthwatering tenderness.
It won’t greet you at the door with a hug or pour you a glass of wine, but it is one pot cooking at its best. If you are still not sure you need one, this slow cooker pork casserole will convince you!
Slow Cooker Spanish Pork Stew with Chorizo
This slow cooker Spanish Pork Stew with chorizo is one of my favourite slow cooker dishes. A variation on olla podrida, the traditional one-pot casserole, it is full of rich and vibrant Spanish holiday flavours.
I find it’s the perfect winter pick-me-up for cold northern nights. It’s very easy and like most stews, can be adapted to use whatever is in season or to hand. It also takes very little hands-on time and can be prepared in advance. It freezes well too.
I pack my slow cooker pork casserole with plenty of vegetables for rich and complex flavour. That way, I know I’m getting my vitamins as well as keeping the cold out.
There are a few differences between slow cooker or crockpot cooking and the conventional method of making a casserole in the oven. Generally you need to add less liquid to slow cooked dishes, as less is lost during the cooking process.
As with any really good casserole, this Spanish pork stew is not quite as simple as just chucking all the raw ingredients in and hoping for the best. You need to take a little care. With a little preparation the night before, however, a delicious meal will be waiting for you after that long day at work.
Unlike most of the dishes on this site, the quantities here serve six.
I usually cook for two, but if you are going to fire up the slow cooker, it makes sense to fill it and batch cook. You can easily freeze the extra portions and have an easy no effort meal waiting for you at home.
Why you will love this Spanish Pork Recipe
- So easy to make, simply prepare, throw everything into the slow cooker and let it do the work.
- Packed with flavour.
- An ideal big batch, cook ahead and freeze recipe.
- Adaptable and easy to pack with extra veg.
- Leftovers are perfect for a packed work lunch.
- Light on calories at around 350cal per portion.
How to Make Slow Cooker Spanish Pork Stew with Chorizo
Step 1 – If not already trimmed and diced, prepare the pork by trimming any large pieces of fat and cut into 1″ / 2.5 cm cubes.
Diced pork shoulder is a good buy. You can use a fattier cut, but then you will need to skim the fat off after cooking.
Cut the chorizo into chunky slices, then into quarters. Remove the skin.
Step 2 – Heat the oil on a medium heat, add the pork and chorizo (or bacon) and fry until lightly browned. It is best to do this in stages – leave some space around the meat as it cooks. Transfer the meat to your slow cooker.
Step 3 – Put the sliced onion, celery, peppers, orange zest and garlic in the pan. Add the paprika and a pinch of salt and fry until softened. (You can skip but frying the onion gives a far better flavour.) Don’t throw that celery end away, as it is packed with flavour – slice it thinly and add it too
Add the fried vegetables to your slow cooker.
Step 4 – If necessary, deglaze the frying pan. Add a little of the stock and give the pan a good scrape to get all the little flavour-filled bits up from the bottom of the pan.
Add the liquid and scrapings to the slow cooker.
Step 5 – Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good stir. Season with salt and pepper.
At this point you can put everything in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Step 6 – Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for an hour followed by 4 hours on slow.
If reheating from chilled, put the slow cooker on high for an hour and a half, then turn to low.
Step 7 – Half an hour before serving, check the consistency.
If necessary, you can thicken the casserole with a little cornflour. Put 2 teaspoons cornflour into a small bowl. Scoop a spoon of liquid from the casserole into the cornflour. Stir to make a thin paste.
Add this paste to the casserole and stir. It will look milky white, but will rapidly thicken and clear. Never add the cornflour directly to the casserole as it will go lumpy.
Cooking in the Oven
If you prefer (or don’t have a slow cooker yet), just cook this stew in the oven on a low heat for three hours.
Spanish Pork – How to Add Extra Veg
My mantra for a healthy diet is to add extra vegetables whenever you can to every meal. This dish is ideal for packing with vegetables.
- Add diced pumpkin or squash to the slow cooker – you can buy ready frozen cubes from the supermarket to make this really easy.
- Throw in a can or two of rinsed beans or chickpeas. We like canellini beans as they are especially soft and tender and great at soaking up flavour.
- Add sliced stoned olives (we use the ones that come in a jar for convenience) – give them a rinse if they are in brine as they can be very salty. You can also add any jarred antipesto that is lurking at the back of the fridge.
- If you like tomato based casseroles, add a tin of good quality chopped tomatoes, or jar of passata. Reduce the amount of stock to 100 ml.
- Stir in shredded kale or spring greens ten minutes before serving.
- Grab a handful of frozen peas or corn from the freezer and add these 10 minutes before serving.
Slow Cooker Spanish Pork
- 1 kg pork shoulder ((diced))
- 100 g chorizo ((or you can use bacon))
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 onions ((peeled and sliced))
- 1/2 head celery ((chopped))
- 5 cloves garlic ((peeled and chopped))
- 3 bell peppers ((sliced, discard the seeds))
- 450 ml chicken stock
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 orange - zest
- If not already prepared, trim any large pieces of fat from the pork and cut into 1" / 2.5cm cubes.
- Cut the chorizo into chunky slices, then into quarters. Remove the skin.
- Heat the oil in a pan on a medium heat, add the pork and chorizo (or bacon) and fry until lightly browned. It is best to do this in stages - leave some space around the meat as it cooks, you want to lightly brown it, not steam it.
- Transfer the meat to your slow cooker.
- Add the sliced onion, celery, peppers and garlic to the pan. Add a pinch of salt and the paprika. Fry until softened. You can skip this step, but frying off the onion gives a far better final flavour.
- Add the onion, celery and garlic to your slow cooker.
- If needed deglaze the frying pan by adding a little of the stock, give the pan a good scrape to get all the little flavour filled bits up from the bottom of the pan. Add to the slow cooker.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good stir. Season with salt and pepper. At this point you can put everything in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for an hour then 4 hours on slow. If reheating from chilled put the slow cooker on high for an hour and a half, then turn to low.
- Half an hour before serving check the consistency. If needed you can thicken the casserole with a little cornflour.Put two teaspoons of the cornflour into a small bowl or ramekin. Scoop out a spoon of liquid
from the casserole add to the cornflour and stir to make a thin paste. Add this paste into the casserole and stir, initially it will look milky white, but will rapidly thicken and clear.
How to Cook in the Oven
- Cook in a slow oven for up to 3 hours.
- Serve the casserole with green vegetables and mashed potatoes, or with beans and crusty bread.
- This recipe is worth 9 Weight Watchers Smart Points per portion
Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in December 2007, but was rewritten and republished with new photos and hints & tips in January 2020