Pork Stew With Pears and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)

By John Willoughby

Pork Stew With Pears and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours, plus marinating
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It's nice knowing that pears, which we think of almost exclusively for desserts in this country, are often used in savory ways in Eastern European cuisines. In this stew, caraway seeds, allspice and fennel reinforce that heritage, while sweet potatoes add rich, round flavors. Although bone-in ribs seem a bit more flavorful, boneless are also fine here. You can even use a combination of both if that’s what turns out to be in the package you buy at the store. Because the pears can turn mushy overnight, this is the rare stew that’s actually best served the day that it’s made.

Featured in: The Kindest Cut of All: A Pork Rib With Slow-Cooked Comforts

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Yield:4 servings

  • pounds boneless or 3 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
  • 2teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 2onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2bulbs fennel, fronds removed, bulb cored and thinly sliced
  • ½cup dry white wine
  • 2large or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 1teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2bay leaves
  • 2 to 3cups chicken stock
  • 3pears of your choice, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • Grainy mustard for serving (optional)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

881 calories; 44 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 14 grams monounsaturated fat; 5 grams polyunsaturated fat; 55 grams carbohydrates; 13 grams dietary fiber; 26 grams sugars; 63 grams protein; 1512 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Pork Stew With Pears and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    If using bone-in ribs, cut away the bones and set aside. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes, sprinkle the ribs evenly with the salt and allow to stand, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour and no more than 12 hours. Move oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. Dry pork cubes well and sprinkle generously with pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the pork well (including bones if you have them), transferring to a platter as browned, adding more oil in between batches if needed.

  3. Step


    Add the onions and fennel to the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are transparent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve any fond on the bottom of the pot. Add the pork (and bones if you have them), sweet potatoes, caraway seeds, allspice, bay leaves and enough chicken stock to just cover the meat. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in oven for 1 hour. Add the pears to the pot, then continue to cook until meat is very tender, about 30 to 45 minutes more.

  4. Step


    Remove bones from pot, stir in lemon juice, then serve stew in bowls, passing mustard separately so people can put a dollop on their stew if desired.



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Cooking Notes

William Wroblicka

Follow the recipe as written through the second sentence of Step 3 (except omit preheating the oven). Then transfer the contents of the pot as well as everything else (pork, bones, sweet potatoes, caraway seeds, allspice, bay leaves, chicken stock) including the pears to a slow cooker and cook on high for about 4 hours or on low for about 6 hours. Then finish as described in Step 4.


How would you adapt this recipe for a slow cooker?


I just made this in my Instant Pot and it is delicious!!! I used the sauté function on medium for browning the pork, then the onions and fennel. After adding back the wine, pork, sweet potatoes, spices, and chicken broth, I turned on the pressure cooker for 25 minutes, let the pressure drop naturally for 25 minutes, then added the pears and used the warm setting on High to finish it all off. Worked beautifully!

Slow Cooker

Q: Won't the yield be very different if using "3 pounds boneless or 2 1/2 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs" and you de-bone the ribs?It would seem that the 2 1/2 lbs bone-in would yield maybe 2 lbs.


Note that it's not necessary to salt the pork and let it sit in the fridge. Nothing of consequence is gained. Sauté in batches but best NOT to "brown well" all over - just brown well one side (to develop fond). Pork can end up cooking so long during browning that it leads to excessive cooking during the stewing phase; brown one side of pork cubes only. If cooking in an IP the sweet potatoes will break down and add body. Use 1.5 c stock in IP. IP notes in different post.


Used celery instead of fennel and added a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Really good.


I believe that it should be 2 1/2 lbs boneless or 3 lbs bone in, not the other way.


You'd convert it by basing it on the pork. Sauté the pork as noted, using the IP. Do in batches. Next sauté the onion and fennel. When you add the wine scrape up the fond but reduce almost completely. (Once you cover the IP any aromas stay there so you want to reduce the wine till its flavor concentrates but the alcohol aromas have vanished.) Don't cover the pork with stock; use 2 c tops. Manual High 8 min; quick release; add pears; manual high 1 min. Wait 5; quick release.

beth choi

Pears are immensely versatile. They can take the place of apple in a spiced cake and pineapple in an up side down cake, or serve as a side dish with pork dishes and various meats. And being complimented and kept from darkening by fresh lemon juice, they serve beautifully in pork stews and pork stir fries, too. So glad to see this recipe set forth; it sounds excellent. Lemon and soy sauce, combined with pork and pears, is another effective way to go.


This was completely delicious and warming on a cold winter night. Used red wine instead of white because I had some open. I was surprised at how well the pears (I used Bosc) held up. Meat was tender, stew was unctuous. Needed a splash of parsley for color. This definitely goes into the rotation!


Made this recipe tonight, got raves from our guests. Made it using slow cooker suggestions here, namely adding pears at the beginning. They were perfect, I used Anjou pears not ripe, but they cooked up just fine. Also, I added about half the amount of caraway seeds, as I find a little goes a long way. I also didn't peel the sweet potatoes or the pears and the skins were fine eating.


Any chance this could be adapted to a pressure cooker? Thoughts and suggestions most welcomed.


Sure you'll notice the peel in the stew. It's not really going to break down during cooking, much like tomato skin. It can be objectionable to some diners and in at least some cases mars the mouthfeel of the finished dish.


Surprisingly sweet. Used pork tenderloin (leaner than ribs) and omitted the wine. After vegetable saute step, placed all ingredients in a crock pot and cooked for the afternoon on low for 3 hours. Turned heat up to high, laid quartered Bartlett pears on top, and cooked for another hour. Absolutely delicious. Mustard provided an interesting flavor, but it was good alone as well.


I felt this was a good recommendation for the use of country ribs. However, the cook time was way too long for the sweet potato which turned out mushy. So I think the sweet potatoes should be added later into the cook time.

mike - Decatur Ga

These notes are based on cooking with this recipe many times:In step 3, bring to simmer before adding the sweet potatoes (otherwise the sweet potatoes disintegrate); place in oven 45 minutes; add pears and cook 20 minutes. Following these notes the sweet potatoes and pears are well cooked and have not disintegrated.Your preference may vary, but we prefer this result. Great recipe.

Rick T

Used two leeks instead of onions because I had them; otherwise prepared as directed. Delicious, with an unusual combination of flavors.


It's a brown stew with a bright, rich flavor. It's not pretty, but it sure is tasty.

Mr. Brown

This recipe is amazing. Tastes nothing like it looks. So different and so delicious. It leaves you feeling refreshed and lite and very satisfied.


Way too much liquid as others have reported. A new the potatoes disintegrate if added too early.


A great recipe! I followed the instructions and thanks to others comments I also;Roasted and ground the allspice and caraway. Added a rutabaga, turnip, carrots and a large leek.Used 3 large Granny Smith apples instead of the pears.Dark beer instead of the wine.The results were just wonderful, perfect spice combination even though I forgot the mustard and lemon at the end.


Vanessa cooked this 2022 April visit


Most definitely do not add the sweet potatoes until adding the pears. I followed other’s advice and didn’t take the meat off the bones until it was done cooking. It fell right apart. I also took everything out and simmered the broth with cornstarch to thicken it up a bit. I found the stew delicious.


Delicious! Made it for Christmas dinner, which included a Hungarian relative and a relative with a nightshade allergy. Everyone enjoyed it. Used pork tenderloin and put sweet potatoes and pears in later as suggested by reviews. Mustard added a nice depth of flavor. Thanks for a great recipe!

Joseph Galli

This was a great recipe and I would do again. Just some notes to consider, I used pork tenderloins for a leaner meal. The cooking time was a bit off for the sweet potatoes, so I would suggest either delaying them or cooking them separate. The pear, onions and fennel when cooked down create a nice healthy sauce. One suggestion is to serve over a sweet potato mash to avoid the issues of the overcooking of potato.


First let me say that this makes WAY more than 4 servings. That said I followed the recipe as written and it was a flavorful stew. The bosc pears weren't ripe so they didn't turn to mush in the baking which was a good thing - still were flavorful. The sweet potatoes did break down quite a bit. Adding the mustard cuts down on the sweetness of the stew which I think is a good thing. I probably wouldn't make it ag a in because if the quantity and my belief that it wouldn't freeze well.


12/15/20. Surprisingly nice and well accepted by all. Mustard is a must as is the lemon. I cooked up to the pear part (without adding the potatoes as per the comments about them being mushy) the day ahead then added sweet potatoes when I took out of oven to cool with lid on so they got started cooking. Next day brought back to boil then pears in before went into oven for final 45 minutes. Perfect. (Read article to make sure you know what 'country style ribs' are -- not ribs).


It's not pretty, but very tasty. The pears are a wonderful touch. As others have pointed out, sweet potatoes will get mushy quickly. Take that into account.


Delicious! Didn’t have caraway seed so I subbed cumin seeds. The allspice/cumin combo gave it a hint of Jamaican jerk seasoning but without the heat. Used boneless country style pork ribs for the meat. Following the cook times in the recipe, the meat was good but not fully tender. It’d benefit from a longer cooking time. Next time, I will cook the meat without the sweet potatoes for at least 1.5 hours before proceeding. Or I may pressure cook it in the Instant Pot.


Fantastically good. As I was also baking, the only change I made was to cook it on the stovetop in a large Dutch oven. The recipe times worked perfectly. Just a note here - unless you’re cooking for a set of lumberjacks, this recipe will easily feed 6 people.

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Pork Stew With Pears and Sweet Potatoes Recipe (2024)
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