Christmas Pork with Chestnuts, Legumes and Spices from Lesvos

This hearty pork stew from the Greek island of Lesvos is a favorite at Christmas.

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  • 1/2 cup dried chick peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless pork, cut into stewing size pieces
  • 4 cups chopped red onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp whole allspice berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 small potatoes,peeled and quartered
  • 1 cup whole chestnuts, boiled and peeled


Bring to a boil in a large pot, skimming the foam off the surface.

Simmer over low heat for 35-40 minutes, until slightly softened, and drain.

While the chickpeas are cooking, heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a large flame-proof casserole dish or Dutch oven and brown the meat over high heat, stirring frequently in the pot.

Remove with a slotted spoon and add the onions.

Cook over medium heat, stirring, until wilted and lightly browned, about eight minutes.

Place the meat back in the pot, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the tomatoes.

Bring to a simmer over low-medium heat.

Add the spices, and pour in enough water to cover the meat.

Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low.

Simmer for about 40 minutes.

Add the chick peas, stir, and pour in additional water if necessary to keep the mixture covered.

Simmer, covered, for about one hour, or until the chick peas are almost cooked.

Add the potatoes and chestnuts and continue cooking for another 30-40 minutes, or until the meat and chick peas are very tender.

Add water if necessary as the stew simmers.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve warm.


The same recipe can be done with lamb, omitting chestnuts and potatoes and adding fresh chopped mint
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