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Warming spiced pork winter casserole and perfect rice.

December 22, 2010

Well, I’m at my parents home now, here for two weeks of Christmassy sleeping, eating, relaxation and a mammoth photo scanning project in which I’m trying to make a record of every family photo since about 1960 (29 years before I was born!). I’ve been doing it most winter holidays for the past 2 years and am about halfway done so far!

Being at home means I have access to equipment I don’t yet own myself and get to cook with a range of slightly pricier foods a couple of times a week, so alls good for me. But for this meal, mum hadn’t been shopping in a while, so  I had to make do with what was going, hence beer instead of cider.

Pork cooked this way with apple sauce, spices and warm rice is just the most perfect meal you could have when there’s 8 inches of snow outside and 3 days till Christmas. Also a lot of people make rice a bit stogy, so heres one of the ways I cook it, always tastes amazing and is very fluffy. Anyway, here we go:

Ingredients:  (feeds four)

  • 3 Pork chops
  • 4 Slices bacon, rolled up and then chopped coarsely
  • 2 Medium leeks
  • 3 Cloves garlic
  • Cider, Light beer or White wine (any of the three, about 350 ml, no need to be exacting, I wasn’t)
  • Apple sauce – about half a pot, don’t worry about amounts too much, just do it to personal taste
  • Apple juice – a couple of glugs to thin the sauce
  • 10 Cloves
  • 1 Small stick cinnamon
  • 10 Juniper berries
  • 1 Tea spoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 Table spoon dill
  1. Rub the pork chops with salt and pepper, then brown on a high heat before setting to the side, cut into 1 inch cubes when cooled, should be pink in the middle.
  2. Cut the leeks into chunky pieces and finely slice the garlic, begin to simmer in some of the alcohol with the spices and dill. When the leeks are starting to go soft, roughly 3-5 minutes, add the rest of the alcohol and the apple sauce. Bring just to the boil.
  3. Add the bacon and a bit more salt / pepper.
  4. Transfer into a casserole, splash in some apple juice and stir thoroughly. Then cook in the oven with the lid removed on a high heat (Gas mark 8, 230 C, 450 F) until it boils (25+ minutes) put the lid on and simmer on a low heat (Gas mark 3, 160 C, 325 F) for at least an hour and a half. Or Put in a slow cooker and just leave for 4 or more hours to simmer.

The Rice:

  • 2  1/2 Cups basmati
  • 1/2 Table spoon supermarket powdered chicken seasoning (If you want to make your own; salt, paprika, ground chili, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder mixed roughly equally, to taste)
  • 1/2 Lemon, sliced
  • Handfull of cumin
  • 5 Cups water
  1. Wash the basmati in a pan, rubbing it with your hand and draining away the starchy water till it is clear.
  2. Pour in the 5 cups of water, add the seasoning, cumin and the lemon slices.
  3. Put on a medium high heat with a lid and cook till it begins to boil.
  4. Reduce the heat but keep boiling, keep on the hob for 10 minutes, still lidded, make sure it doesn’t over boil.
  5. Take off the heat, let stand for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and then serve.
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