My friend gave me this recipe years ago. I had never tried the pork/pear combination before. Well,I found that I couldn't eat just one bowl. The flavor of the pears/vanilla and herbs is such a great compliment to pork. something different and unexpected. This stew also reheats beautifully. A wonderful winter/spring dish. Serve by a roaring fire.
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper on all sides.Heat large heavy pot (8qt) over medium high heat x a few minutes, then add olive oil
Lower in pork pieces and cook 3 minutes on a side (till deep caramel in color). Do not try to cram more than one layer, will likely need to do a few batches.Turn heat to medium-low and pour off most of fat (leave thin layer).
Add in onions and garlic. Cook till softened. Add in broth and wine and scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to get up all the caramelized bits
Add pears, then add back in pork. Tie thyme together with bay leaves and vanilla bean using kitchen twine and nestle between pieces of pork. Cover and cook at a gentle simmer over very low heat until meat is tender, about 2 hours.
Take out pork and cover loosely. Discard herbs. Add chopped thyme to pot, increase the heat, and boil off liquid until thick enough to coat a spoon (5-10 minutes). Add in parsley and lemon and adjust to taste. Return pork to pan and serve.