Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cosy casserole

It's been a foul day in Wellington - non-stop heavy rain since last night. It's days like this that I'm cravenly glad not to have to go Out to Work, managing all the paid stuff on-line instead.
         Given the weather, and following last week's surfeit of takeaways, I thought it was time for a cosy casserole. We had some rapidly-going-soft tamarillos (not as pretty as the ones in the picture) and in the freezer there was a pack of pork pieces, so I put together a recipe that Harvey invented, only with variations, of course. It's called, with stunning originality, pork and tamarillo casserole!

Pork and tamarillo casserole

Approx. 500g lean pork pieces (cut them up if necessary so they're all as much the same size as possible - the bought pieces often vary wildly in size)
6 tamarillos (fewer if very large, more if very small)
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
Some interesting liquid to cook it with - white wine, red wine, cider  - for this one I used leftover juice from cooking apples and the last of the bottle of port, plus extra lemon juice
Juice of 1-2 lemons (depending on how tart you like it)
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the slow cooker:
- Heat cooker on high, with lid on, for 20 minutes while preparing the ingredients.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and check size of pork pieces (they should be no bigger than 2 cm square).
- Put oil into cooker and add onion and garlic. Leave to sweat for a few minutes.
- Cut the tamarillos in half, scoop them out of their skins and halve again.
- Add the other ingredients, using just enough liquid to cover meat.
- Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on high.

Without a slow cooker:
- Either in a casserole dish that can go on the hob, or in a pan, heat olive oil gently and sweat onions and garlic till softened. Prepare the rest as above.
- On top of onions and garlic in casserole dish, add other ingredients and enough liquid to cover meat. (Check while it cooks - you may need to add more if it evaporates in the oven.)
- Cover and cook for 3 hours in a slow oven (170F).

Check to see meat is tender. If liquid is too thin, mix a little flour in cold liquid, add, and cook a little longer.
We had this with the everlasting mashed potato, but rice is good and so is couscous or orzo pasta. The colour is good and the flavour is deliciously fruity and tart.

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