I have been craving bacon since I left the UK. It just isn’t the same…and its the one food I really miss when ever I live abroad. Neither can I get many of the other traditional English cuts of pork easily, like pork belly, cheeks, sausages. I can get a pretty decent pork chop though and, as its not from Tesco but the LOCAL BUTCHERS, I can fairly confidently say its probably French at least. In the UK, when I lived in Plymouth, I got my pork from the WWOOF farm I worked on at weekends near Maker Heights. At Florrick Down the pigs are happy souls, friendly and very very tasty… Here are a few of my favourite recipes for perfect pork, complete with Autumny twists to make the most of the best season of the year.
Pork with Pears and Ginger
Pork is traditionally served with apples in England, but I love this variation that I came across in Italy. Pears are perfect right now and so are apples so feel free to try this with either.
Pork chops (2 per person), hard pears, onion, ginger beer, ginger root, thyme, salt and pepper
In a saucepan, fry a finely chopped onion in a little butter and oil, when soft add the pears and cook until caramelly. Add half a can of ginger beer (because I drank the other half…), and the finely sliced ginger root, thyme and seasoning. Reduce until thick and syrupy. Meanwhile, griddle the pork chops until they have picked up the nice lines and some good burnt flavours. Pop them in a deep baking tray and pour over the sauce then cover with tinfoil to keep them moist. Place the tray in the oven at 180C for 30 minutes. Serve with fried cubes of potato, or roasties, and some creamy kale.
Griddled Pork with Pepper Salsa
Another griddly one, this time get thin-ish slices of pork rather than chops as thick pork chops get too dry when griddled all the way to the end.
Salsa: Jar preserved peppers, balsamic vinegar, EVOO, salt, pepper, pinch brown sugar, pesto or fresh basil
Slice the peppers into small chunks and put them in a bowl. Add 1tsp of balsamic vinegar, 4 tsp of olive oil, seasoning and sugar and mix thoroughly. Top with a few torn basil leaves or a drizzle of loosened pesto (add a little olive oil to the jarred stuff for a very simple dressing).
Top the griddled pork with the salsa, be generous, and serve with a fresh and crunchy green salad.
Sausages and Mash
Really, really easy but an absolute classic.
Good sausages (2 or 3 per person), potatoes, garlic, leeks, butter, salt, pepper, pinch of thyme.
Put the sausages and sliced leeks in a roasting tin and put them in the oven at 180C until they aren’t pink in the middle anymore. Peel the potatoes and chop into small chunks, rinse them in a collander then put them in a pan of cold water, bring it to the boil with the potatoes in. You should do this with all root veg apparently, no idea why. Add two cloves of garlic to the potato pan as well. When the potatoes are cooked and soft, drain them and return to the pan. Mash to smithereens, then add a large knob of butter. Cream the butter into the potatoes with a wooden spoon, just like you would cream butter and sugar together for a cake. Add the seasoning and thyme. Put the sausages and leeks on top of the mash and add gravy if you like, also peas.
A twist for Autumn would be to add celeriac to the potato, its a great root and will add a lovely sweet and nutty flavour to mash.
Pork in a Mustard and Cream Sauce
Pork medallions, whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, single cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Heat the cream (a few tbsp per person) in a small saucepan and stir in three tsp of whole grain mustard, one of Dijon and half a tsp of grated nutmeg. Allow the sauce to boil and then turn off the heat. Season medallions then sear in butter, with a little olive oil, for two minutes on each side.
Loin of Pork with Roasted Vegetables
This is not my recipe but my OH’s, he made it for lunch and we had it in a freshly baked ciabatta. Heaven.
Whole loin of pork (as in not sliced), courgette, red pepper, red onion, garlic, EVOO, sage and thyme.
Sear the seasoned loin of pork in a hot frying pan to seal the meat, then put it in a roasting pan. So everything doesn’t end up swimming in a pool of olive oil, put the sliced veggies and whole garlic cloves (3 at least) in a large bowl and toss in olive oil and herbs. Then put them in the roasting pan too. Cook in the oven until the veggies are soft but the meat is still a little pink in the middle. Slice the meat and serve with all the veggies in a sandwich with a dollop of wholegrain mustard.
Last but by no means least…Slow Roast Pork Belly
Pork belly, rock salt, pepper, cumin
Score the rind of the pork with a sharp blade, rub with salt, pepper and cumin making sure plenty gets in the score marks. Put the pork on a rack over a roasting pan (possibly with potatoes for roasting underneath). Pop in the oven at 160C. Leave it for an hour then turn it over, rind side down for 30 minutes and then flip it back to flesh side down for another hour or so. If the rind doesn’t go crackly, slice it off, and while the meat rests, put it back in the oven at 220C for twenty minutes. Serve with all the trimmings you would normally have with a roast and a big spoon of Autumn Chutney.
Once again I will ask you to buy your meat locally, from your butchers if you can, even if it is more expensive. Just eat it less often and allow it to become more of a treat than ever. You will at least know where its coming from, you can look your butcher in the eye and know the pig has lived well and probably not too far away. Avoid Tesco’s at all costs…the supermarkets have proved time and again they can’t be trusted, you wouldn’t use the plumber, the mechanic or the electrician that let you down again now would you? This could be your health you are dicing with, you are what you eat after all.