Oven-Baked Pork, Sage, Cider and Potato Stew
May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
A tender-flavoured winter stew of pork, sage and apple, a well-loved combination that I like to think of as a polygamous marriage (with pork being the boy, of course, and sage and apple the spirited gals*).
Apple is without a doubt the senior wife in this flavour alliance, because few other ingredients have such an affinity with the juicy sweetness of pork. ‘On a plate, these two are made for each other,’ writes Niki Segnit in her brilliant book The Flavour Thesaurus. ‘With a plate of proper roast pork, by which I mean one with a curly roof of crackling, your apple pulls back the curtains and throws open the window of your plate.’
Sage is an interesting but strident herb that works best when used sparingly. (In other words, an aggressive bitch among herbs; delicious in small doses.)
I almost always bake stews in the oven these days because I find that long slow cooking at a steady temperature produces a better result than a pot put over a flame. Oven-baked stews don’t catch on the bottom of the pot, and you can neglect them as they gently burble to perfect tenderness. Do stir the stew now and then, though. Or reach into the oven with gloved hands and give the dish a firm shake.
Ask your butcher for the most suitable cut for this dish. I’ve made it several times using pork neck (and it’s faintingly good) but I think, because this is such a mild-flavoured stew, a leaner cut is better suited.
* Please don’t admonish me for this. After all, ‘pork’ is not a suitable name for a woman.
>> Want the recipe? Click here to find it (and a printable version) on my blog Scrumptious South Africa
Find more of my original recipes at Scrumptious South Africa