(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, 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.