I first served this stew aboard a fishing boat. I’d cooked it the day before and reheated it over a camp stove in the wheel-house. I remember the delicious smells carrying out to the hungry fishermen on deck. Serves 4 Dash of extra-virgin olive oil
1 piece of cured pork belly (streaky bacon; about 350g), cut into 4–5cm cubes
500g fresh pork belly, cut into 4–5cm cubes 1 large or 2 small leeks, halved and sliced
2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
4–6 bay leaves
2–3 rosemary sprigs
2–3 thyme sprigs
2tbsp plain flour
450ml pork, chicken or vegetable stock
Knob of butter
250g wild or cultivated mushrooms, sliced
200ml double cream
Small bunch of parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 3. Start by heating the oil in a large heavybased casserole set over a medium-high heat. Add the cured and fresh pork belly pieces and cook the meat for 6–8min, or until well browned on all sides. remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the leeks to the same pan, along with the sliced garlic, all the herbs and a little seasoning. Sweat the leeks gently for about 10min, then return the browned pork pieces to the pan, sprinkle over the plain flour and stir well. Cook for a further 3–4min, pour in the cider and stock and bring to a simmer. Stir well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and place in the oven for 2hr, until the pork is fork tender.
Meanwhile, set a large frying pan over a high heat and add the butter. When it’s bubbling, add the mushrooms, season lightly and sauté, turning them regularly for
6–8min, until cooked through. Set aside.
When the casserole is ready, remove it from the oven and add the fried mushrooms and cream. Stir well, then return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes without its lid.
Stir in the chopped parsley and check the seasoning before serving with a sharply dressed green salad and some good bread.