Monday, February 25, 2008

Pork and lemon stew

My butcher sells spare rib chops, which come from the pig's shoulder. They are cheaper, moister and more tender than loin chops. Versatile as well: you can grill or fry them as you would a loin chop, and slow-cook them in a stew. For 4.

4 spare rib chops (or more if they are small)
Olive oil
3 onions, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
100 ml chicken stock
I lemon, zested and cut into quarters

I have taken to browning meat, without oil, on a ridged grill pan. Cut each chop into two or three pieces (whatever suits you), salt them, and brown them, in batches, on a high heat for a minute or two each side. Transfer to a plate when done. Meanwhile, in a casserole, soften the onions on a low to medium heat in the oil (a tbsp or two -- enough to prevent the onions from catching).

Tip the pork into the casserole, along with the whole garlic cloves, bay leaves, chicken stock, zest and quartered lemons, and a little more salt.

You do not need to bring the contents to a simmer: a gentle increase of heat in a low oven (gas mark 1/140 C) will help to keep the pork tender. Leave the casserole to cook gently for a couple of hours.

You may find that you have a surprising quantity of sauce. If there is too much, and it seems too thin, remove the pork to a warm plate, cover it, and bubble the sauce on top of the stove until reduced.

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