3 January 2016

Diced pork with parsnips & celery in cider (oven version)

Yes, this is a pretty much identical dish to the slow cooker pork shoulder with parsnips & celery in cider - except cooked in the oven.

Sometimes, it's just easier to use a casserole dish in the oven than to break out the mighty weighty slow cooker (or crockpot) - especially when you're going to be indoors and available to keep a wether eye on the oven.  Today was just such a day and as I'd not cooked the pork this way before, I thought I'd indulge.
Instead of using the pork shoulder, I cheated unmercifully and bought 500g of diced pork which turned out to be lean and very acceptable indeed.  I shall use that again.

Aside from that, I used a different type of cider - Thatcher's Red Apple Cider.  It did give the dish a worryingly pink hue to begin with, however the colour cooked out as we went along.  The Red Apple Cider is a sweeter version than I would normally have chosen, but it worked very nicely.  I also increased the herbage in the recipe - using sage, thyme and rosemary to just offset the sweetness a tiny bit.  Our smoked salt helped a little there, too.

It sounds a bit like I made a totally different dish, having said all that - but it really isn't.  I served the pork with mashed potato and steamed vegetables (broccoli, carrots, baby corn and Brussels sprouts) and once again, it made a very good Sunday dinner.

Here is the recipe, just in case you too have a non-slow cooker day!


Ingredients :

2 tbsp olive oil
500g diced lean pork
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch or two of ground black pepper
1 onion, diced finely
2 celery sticks, chopped small
half a tsp dried thyme
half a tsp dried rosemary
half a tsp dried sage
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced evenly
2 tbsp plain flour
500ml medium or dry cider
200ml stock (I used ham stock, but chicken, pork or veggie would do fine).

Method :

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan until very hot.  Add the pork (cooking in batches if needs be, so as not to overcrowd the pan), season with salt and pepper and fry until golden on at least two sides.  Remove the pork from the pan using a slotted spoon and decant into a casserole dish with a lid.

Replace the remains of the oil onto the heat and reduce the heat to moderate.

Add the onion, celery and herbs and fry until the onion is softened, but without colouring.

Add the parsnip pieces and fry to get some heat into them.

In a small bowl, mix the plain flour with a little of the cider - just enough to create a free running mixture.

Pour the remaining cider into the pan and add the stock.  Increase the heat under the pan and, while the liquid is heating, drizzle in the flour/cider mix.  Stir well to prevent lumps forming.

Continue to stir until the sauce thickens.  Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Decant into the casserole dish, stir to distribute the pork evenly then cover and place into a pre-heated oven at 180degC/350degF/Gas 4 for 1 hour.

At the end of the hour, give the contents of the casserole a stir and replace into the oven with the lid off.  The casserole can now continue to cook for a minimum of another half an hour, or as long as until the meat is tender and the parsnips cooked through.

Serve with mashed potato and steamed vegetables of your choice.

Printable version

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