TC Recipe: Pancetta & Sweet Potato Stew

January 17 2014

By Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny
Suggested Pairing: 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir
Serves 6

Pancetta Stew

We understand that most meals we eat are not ones that take hours in the kitchen. We are hoping to relieve the pressure and allow you to prepare this stew in advance using your crock pot slow cooker. This recipe features basic farmhouse, vegetable dominant flavors. If pancetta is not available, feel free to use bacon. The subtle addition of the curry, cinnamon, and vanilla provide a backdrop of flavors that blend nicely with the floral notes of the Pinot Noir. The soft sweet potatoes and carrots provide a low fat richness on the palete that do not over shadow the oak and fruit in the wine. Feel free to add other vegetables or meats to this recipe as you see fit, such as butternut squash or browned beef. – Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny


  • 1 lb Pancetta, ½ inch lardons if possible
  • 2 each Medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and large dice
  • 2 each Carrots, peeled and large dice
  • 2 each Celery Ribs, large dice
  • 1 each Leek, white part only
  • 1 each Small Yellow Onion, large dice
  • 4 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 each Cinnamon Stick
  • ¼ each Vanilla Bean pod, cut lengthwise to expose the seeds
  • 4 cups Broth, Chicken or Pork
  • 1 cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider
  • 1 sprig Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 1 each Bay Leaf
  • 1 cup White Wine, dry preferred
  • 2 cups Italian Kale, rinsed and julienne


  1. Warm your slow cooker on high.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, slowly caramelize the pancetta lardons on all sides
  3. Remove the lardons from the pan leaving behind about 2 Tb of rendered pancetta fat. Add the pancetta lardons to the slow cooker
  4. To the fat add the carrot, celery, leek, onion, and garlic. Cook slowly for about 8 minutes. Allow the vegetables to soften and become a light brown in color.
  5. Add the tsp of curry powder to the vegetables and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add all of that mixture to the slow cooker.
  7. Add the rest of the ingredients minus the Italian kale to the slow cooker. Cover with the lid
  8. Cook times are flexible, depending on the slow cooker temperature. LOW: 8-9 hours. HIGH: 5-6 hours
  9. Remove the cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and herb sprigs from the stew
  10. The last step is adding in the julienne kale. Turn the cooker to HIGH and add the kale. Allow to cook in there for 5 minutes.
  11. Done! Enjoy!