Pork, Cider & Sweet Vegetable Casserole
Comfort food for cold, crisp days (or evenings) around a toasty Ozpig stove, writes Sandra Tate…
So often simple is best, and this simple casserole/stew is a family favourite. Pork (in this case pork shoulder) is a very cheap option and takes much less cooking time to become super tender than cuts of stewing beef. I removed the rind and made crackling/pork scratchings so there was no waste from this 1kg pork shoulder joint. Vegetables may be a matter of taste so feel free to use your own favourite roots, I used red onions, carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, garlic cloves and Anja potatoes. A crisp, dry cider is good as the vegetables bring sweetness to the dish but it is a stew and I would save the good cider to drink with it, not to cook with!
Peel all vegetables, including a couple of fat cloves of garlic, allowing at least 3 whole vegetables/person (don’t worry about the Anja potaoes, just rinse them). Prepare the onion, carrots, parsnip, sweet potato into chunky wedges (leave the garlic cloves whole), season with salt and pepper before frying off in 2 tbsp olive oil over a hot Ozpig until colouring at the edges. Move the vegetables to a casserole pot and return the pan to the Ozpig, adding a little more olive oil. Cut the pork shoulder into 2.5cm cubes, toss in a rounded tbsp of seasoned plain flour and quickly add to the hot pan to colour all over before adding to the casserole. Leave the cooking pan on the Ozpig and pour in 500ml cider, scraping all the meat residues and crusted flour into the cider as it heats to bubbling and the pan is effectively cleaned! Pour the thickened liquid over the casserole contents and swap it onto the Ozpig.
At this point you want the casserole to cook gently with the lid on so turn all the vegetables and pork into the sauce and use the heat diffuser if necessary. Turn contents occasionally; after 45 minutes the pork and vegetables will be quite tender, add a couple of handfuls of Anja potatoes and turn them in to the sauce, cover and cook a further 15-20 minutes.
Serve in bowls with chopped parsley and basil – and crusty bread for the hungry ones!