So, first soak a generous handful of dried porcini bits in hot water. Cut up a pound or so of pork (butt, shoulder, etc.) into biggish cubes and fry in a pan with olive oil, in two batches if necessary. (This is one of the occasions when we actually dirty two pans, rather than just frying in the bottom of the stew pot, since the meat really does need lots of space to brown). Remove the browned meat to your stew pot. Back in the pan, brown half a onion, chopped, in the leftover oil, then add one clove minced garlic. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/4 white wine vinegar. Pour all that into the stew pot, together with the porcini water, filtered though a paper-towel-lined sieve. Chop up the porcini and a half pound of whatever other fresh mushrooms you have. We had a bag full of Bluefoot mushrooms that were a bit dry (perfect then for a stoo) but even basic old white button 'shrooms will soak up a lot of the porcini taste. Add a bay leaf, 3 anchovy fillets, a Tbsp. of marjoram, and 20 or so lightly crushed juniper berries for that boscaiolo flavor. I stress lightly crushed, since the juniper berries stay pretty hard, not unlike peppercorns, and all you want to do is smash 'em a bit to help release the essential oil. (At this point Julia would say that you can add gin for that juniper berry flavor; so you can, but just pour it into the cook).
Now walk away for 2-2 1/2 hours, until the pork becomes meltingly tender. Like most stoos, it's even better the next day. You can serve it and the gravy over polenta, but we think it's even better over mashed potatoes, that other great gift to the Old World.
Any friends visiting Italy are hereby requested to bring us back porcini. We bought a kilo the last time we there and managed to make it last for a couple of years, but we can't buy it wholesale here in the US, and those tiny packets are both stale and sinfully expensive. Any amount will be gratefully accepted. Give what you can to
Holt and Barbara Need Porcini