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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cider with pork recipe

Pork ready for slow cooking
Cider with pork - that's what I'm cooking today. Or should I say slow cooking. It's quite easy to make.
Take one small shoulder of pork - I had a 2kg joint which was on offer at the supermarket. Remove the rind/fat. Cut pork into about 5 or 6 very large chunks. I prefer these huge chunks, as the meat can be broken up afterwards. Smaller cubes with this pork shoulder cut don't seem to work as well for me. Brown meat in a frying pan and put into the slow cooker. Add the usual casserole veg such as: one each of carrot, leak and onion, a stick of celery and some garlic to taste. Fry these in a little oil then pour on a small bottle of cider (I used a 275ml bottle). Bring to the boil, then add this to the casserole. Incidentally, I ALSO very finely diced half a carrot, celery and onion and add this to the casserole too - as I want these to turn into a mushy texture which will help thicken the casserole. Once all ingredients are in the slow cooker, add a couple of bayleaves if you have them and a few herbs (I used a bit of rosemary and thyme from the garden). Don't forget to season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and very slowly cook until the pork looks all crumbly. I think I will slow cook for about 8 hours.
It is the long slow cooking that makes all the fat come out of the meat, leaving a soft and succulent texture with a slight apple flavour from the cider. Once it is cooked, I remove all the large pieces of stock vegetables, and let the dish cool down. In the morning I will remove the fat that has appeared on the top of the dish. I will reheat in a saucepan and check the seasoning, which is very important, as unless there is enough salt/pepper the flavour of the dish will NOT come through properly. I then add fresh veg, such as carrots and broad beans to the dish.

Mashed potatoes (for me) completes the picture and I have such a welcoming dish to return home to, especially when I am in need of some real comfort food. A jacket potato is equally satisfying, or try some of my (MUST) home made chips.

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