Slow-baked pork and apricots
( SERVES 6 )
Photo by Annabel Langbein Media
The tart sweetness of dried apricots beautifully balances the richness of the pork in this winter casserole. It's such an easy meal to make in the weekend when you feel like playing in the kitchen, and have ready to pull out of the fridge to reheat for a mid-week dinner. Serve with mashed potato or rice and wilted spinach. It's also good in the slow-cooker – if you have the time, brown the meat first, but if not just fire everything in, cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours.
|1½ kgs||Boned pork shoulder roast, cut into 3-4cm chunks|
|2 tsp||Ground cumin|
|1 tsp||Smoked paprika|
|1 drizzle||Olive oil, to brown|
|2||Large onions, cut into thin wedges|
|2 Tbsp||Grated fresh ginger|
|2 cups||Chicken stock|
|1||Orange, finely grated zest and juice|
|100 g||Dried apricots|
|1 cup||Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced|
|¼ cup||Chopped parsley|
|6 side||Spinach, wilted, to serve|
|6 side||Couscous, or soft polenta, to serve|
- Preheat oven to 160C fanbake.
- To prepare the pork, mix cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly over the pork to lightly coat.
- Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and brown pork over a high heat, working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Add more oil as needed between batches. Transfer pork to a large ovenproof dish as it browns.
- Add onion and ginger to pan and stir over a medium heat until lightly browned (about 5 minutes). Add stock and orange zest and juice and bring to a boil, stirring to lift any pan brownings. Scatter apricots around the pork and pour the hot sauce over the top.
- Place a piece of baking paper on top of the meat and then cover the dish tightly with a lid. Bake for 3-3½ hours or until meltingly tender (if using a slow-cooker, cook on low power for 9-10 hours). If you want to make this dish a day or two in advance, cook it for less time and then reheat it. Cook initially for 2½ hours, then cool and store in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Bring back to room temperature and then reheat in a 170C oven for a further 45-60 minutes, adding a little more water or stock if it appears to be drying out.
- When ready to serve, add olives and parsley. Serve with wilted spinach and wet polenta or couscous.
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