Sunday, February 05, 2012

Pork, lemon, and garlic stew

This recipe appears in my book, Don't Sweat the Aubergine, about which I may have some more to say in the coming weeks. A new, revised edition appears in April from Black Swan.

I haven't revised this recipe, but I might have done. In the book, I suggest that you brown the pork before putting it in the casserole. But, not being submerged in liquid, it may brown to a certain extent while cooking anyway. So this version (serves 2) could not be simpler.

2 slices of boneless belly pork, each cut into about four pieces, or left whole if you prefer
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 head garlic, separated into cloves but not peeled.
1 lemon, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 chicken stock cube (optional)
2tbsp olive oil
Salt (remember if you use the cube that it is salty)

Toss the ingredients together in a heavy casserole, and bake, covered. I cooked my stew slowly, at gas mark 1/140C and then at gas mark S/130C, for three and a half hours. I turned down the dial once the stew was simmering, after about an hour and a quarter.

I confess that, after two and a half hours, there was little evidence of the browning I had expected. So I uncovered the casserole. I am reluctant to follow recipes that tell you to brown meat towards the end of the cooking time, fearing that the high temperature will cause the meat to dry out. But in this case, the temperature was low, and belly pork is a particularly forgiving cut. The surfaces of the meat browned in about half an hour, after which I turned it.

The meat, onions and lemon create plenty of sauce, which has a delicious tartness to offset the rich fattiness of the pork.

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