Normandy Pork Casserole with Apple Brandy

  • Serves: 6
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: Approx. 3 hours
  • Total time: Approx. 3½ hours

Ingredients

  • 1.25kg/2lb 12oz pork shoulder, diced
  • 175g/6oz smoked bacon, diced, small
  • 250g/9oz small shallots peeled
  • 750ml/3 cups pork or vegetable stock
  • 100ml/3.5fl. oz crème fraîche
  • 60ml/2fl. oz calvados (apple brandy)
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 2 apples (such as granny smith), peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp. coarse grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp. cornflour
  • 1 tsp. coarse black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • To finish
  • 1 large knob of butter
  • 8 sage leaves
Normandy Pork Casserole with Apple Brandy

This recipe was kindly submitted by Dave Harrison who found out about Kitchen Geekery on Twitter.

This dish is especially suited to the winter months, as its heartiness is both filling and comforting. Although it has a long cooking time, the preparation itself is short and straightforward. It is suitable when entertaining, as once the initial preparation is done, little more work has to be put into it and all your energy can be invested in looking after your guests.

The dish can be served with a combination of mashed or jacket potatoes, dumplings, crusty bread, and steamed vegetables.

In terms of cooking appliance, any ovenproof, deep dish will do the job, but personally I prefer using a high quality cast iron casserole dish. Cast iron dishes are reliable, and especially suited for slow-cooking, since the enamel helps retain heat really well - but any other similar dish will be fine.

Method

  1. Preheat your to oven at 170ºC/325ºF/Gas Mark 3, if its a fan assisted oven set it to 150ºC.
  2. Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in the casserole dish and add the bacon. Cook until crisp, then drain it into a separate dish, keeping the oil in the dish.
  3. Add the butter to the casserole dish and cook the shallots until browned. Now begin to add the pork bit by bit - letting each batch of pork colour slightly before adding more.
  4. When all the meat is in the casserole and has coloured, remove the casserole from the hob, and pour the calvados over. Very carefully ignite the alcohol, and stand well back until the flames have died down.
  5. Put the casserole dish back on the hob over a medium heat again, and add the chopped apple, mustard, celery, pepper, herbs, and stock. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Then put the lid on and place the casserole dish back in the oven for 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours of cooking skim away the excess fat from the top of the casserole. Add the crème fraiche, and the cornflour - mixed with 100ml/3.5fl. oz water. Stir them in well, then place the lid back on the dish and return it to the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  7. For the finish, heat the butter in a small frying pan and add the sage leaves. Fry them gently until they crisp.
  8. Remove the casserole dish from the oven, give it a stir, and add your preferred seasoning. You can now decorate the content with the fired sage leaves and serve with potatoes, dumplings, bread and/or steamed vegetables.
Apples are a member of the rose family.

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