Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - Food & Drink -

(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, cut into large pieces 200ml dou­ble cream

Small bunch of pars­ley

Salt and freshly ground black pep­per


1. Heat the oven to 1500C/3000F/gas mark 3.

2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casse­role over a medium-high heat. Add the cured and fresh pork belly pieces and cook the meat for six to eight min­utes, or un­til it is well browned on all sides.

3. Lift the pieces out of the pan us­ing a spat­ula 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 10 min­utes, then re­turn the browned pork pieces to the pan, sprin­kle over the plain flour and stir well.

4. Cook for a fur­ther three to four min­utes, then pour in the cider and stock and bring to a sim­mer. Stir well, then place a tight-fit­ting lid on the pan and place in the oven for two hours, un­til the pork is fork ten­der. STEW OF PORK, BA­CON AND MUSH­ROOMS WITH CREAM, CIDER AND PARS­LEY

5. Mean­while, set a large fry­ing pan over a high heat and add the but­ter. When it’s bub­bling, add the mush­rooms, sea­son them lightly and saute, turn­ing them reg­u­larly, for six to eight min­utes, un­til cooked through. Set aside.

6. When the casse­role is ready, re­move it from the oven and add the fried mush­rooms and dou­ble cream. Stir well, then re­turn the pan to the oven for 15 min­utes without its lid.

7. Stir in the chopped pars­ley and check the sea­son­ing be­fore bring­ing to the ta­ble with a sharply dressed green salad and some good bread.

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