Pork and apple is a classic pairing and just right for early spring when you need something warming but not too hearty. I go for a walk while it’s cooking which, somehow, always makes it taste even better…
Apple and mustard pork casserole
Apples are a traditional accompaniment to pork and these caramelised slices make a delicious garnish.
Preparation: 30 minutes Cooking: about 2 hours Serves 4
1kg pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon seasoned flour
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
100g smoked streaky bacon, chopped
2 large leeks, cut into 3cm chunks
1 garlic clove, crushed
500ml dry cider
250ml hot chicken stock
3-4 tablespoons soured cream
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
2 Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, cored
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh sage, roughly chopped
1 Heat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan oven) gas mark 3. Toss the pork in the seasoned flour. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large hob proof casserole dish. Brown the pork in batches over a medium to high heat and set aside.
2 Gently fry the bacon in the casserole to release the fat then turn up the heat and fry until golden. Set aside with the pork.
3 Fry the leek until lightly golden, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in any leftover seasoned flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually blend in the cider and stock and bring to the boil.
4 Return the pork and bacon to the casserole, cover and cook in the oven for 1-1½ hours until the pork is tender.
5 Remove the pork, bacon and leeks with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Put the casserole over a medium heat. If the sauce is thin, reduce a little until syrupy. Add the cream and simmer for 2 minutes until thickened. Stir in the mustard. Check the seasoning and add a squeeze of lemon juice if necessary.
6 Meanwhile, halve the apples, then cut into 1cm thick slices. Melt the butter in a pan with the sugar. When it’s stopped foaming, add the apples and fry gently for 3-5 minutes until tender and caramelised. Serve the pork casserole garnished with the apple slices and sage.