Ginger-Coconut Pork With Butternut Squash


Here’s proof that stew doesn’t have to be boring and flavorless. This coconut-infused pork and butternut squash stew is simmered until meltingly tender and deeply flavored. The base of the broth is coconut water, for a lighter option than coconut milk. It gets both soy and fish sauce to bump up the savory umami flavor, plus garlic and ginger for spice. Finish the stew with plenty of sliced scallions, and for even more brightness, Thai basil, mint, or cilantro would be at home here, too. Enjoy with crisp, light beer or an aromatic white wine like Riesling or Vermentino.

Photo: Victor Protasio
Hands On Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 30 mins
8 serves


  • 6 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and quartered

  • 1 medium butternut squash (2½ lb.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-in. chunks

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into ½-in. wedges

  • 1 ½ cups coconut water (12 oz.)

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 4-in. piece)

  • 3 cloves garlic, grated

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Steamed white rice, sliced scallions, and sliced red Fresno chile (optional), for serving


  1. Line a 6-quart slow cooker with a slow cooker liner, if desired. Add pork, squash, onion, coconut water, fish sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper; stir to combine. Cover and cook until pork is very tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.

  2. To serve, drain pork and squash mixture, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid. Shred pork using your fingers or 2 forks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Serve pork over rice, garnished with scallions and, if desired, chile.

Chef's Notes

Instant Pot variation (1 hour):
Follow prep instructions above and lock lid in place. Turn steam-release handle to sealing position. Select Manual or Pressure Cook (depending on model) and set to high pressure for 20 minutes. Carefully turn steam-release handle to venting position and let steam fully escape (float valve will drop). Release lid and turn off cooker. Follow serving instructions above.

To freeze:
Let stew cool to room temperature. Transfer to sealable freezer-safe containers and cover with reserved cooking liquid. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in microwave or overnight in refrigerator.

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