Last Minute Pork Stew

I pulled this meal together from basic ingredients, and I only planned ahead enough to put it in the slow cooker at 10AM. Plus, it's minimal prep (I didn't brown the pork beforehand - whaaaat??).  The day before I'd sworn off slaving away in the kitchen at mealtimes, so I was really excited that this panned out. I made it on my kids first day back to school - it was overcast and drizzling and we were all in some stage of a summer cold, and soup sounded perfect.  Here's how it played out in my head: Oh shoot, I still have that pork in the fridge that I got at Costco the other day but was too lazy to divide up for the freezer. What can I make with that that's not BBQ...    And this is what I came up with!

3 cloves garlic, crushed
A few ribs of celery, sliced
5-6 small tomatoes, Roma for example
Approx 2 lbs. boneless pork ribs (1/2 Costco package or 4-5 pieces/strips)
1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed
A few handfuls of baby carrots 
1 quart chicken broth
1/2 can tomato paste
2T. Dried oregano
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 packet red pepper flakes (the kind you get with pizza)
1 bay leaf. 

Pour a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the bottom of the crockpot and layer, in this order,  the garlic, celery, tomatoes, pork, carrots and beans. I suppose the order doesn't matter much, but I wanted the garlic on the bottom. Then add the chicken stock and remaining seasonings. Cook on high for 6 hours (or until pork shreds easily) and season with salt as needed (I like to let the pork cook and flavor the stew before I add salt). 

It was truly done after 6 hours (meaning you could start this even later, say 12-1PM even) and after 7-8 hours it was still technically "soup" but I left the crockpot on warm it cooked down to a "stew" consistency. You could even just add more broth if you prefer a soupier base. 

I planned on adding some cabbage and spinach towards the end but I forgot!!  

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