pork stew

Country Homes & Interiors - - GOOD TIMES, GOOD FOOD -

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 cider

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.

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