This was one of my favourite recipes that I developed last winter. Originally inspired by this recipe in Delicious Magazine (seriously the best foodie magazine – we’ve loved every issue we’ve read), it’s both rich and indulgent whilst still feeling fairly fresh thanks to the lemon and dill.
Slow cooking pork is something I rarely do, however I know I’ll be hunting down more recipes this Autumn as it was impossibly tender, full of flavour and a bit of a bargain. Even splurging out and picking up the meat at the butchers gave us plenty of change from a tenner (and the big pot easily made six servings, and would have served more had we managed to be more self-restrained). It does, I think, require a bit more care than beef as the browning is crucial to the colour and flavour of the final dish, but it’s well worth it.
The rest of the casserole is filled wih veggies – carrots, shallots, leeks and celery. It’s braised in a combination of chicken stock, sherry and lemon juice, with a small amount of dream stirred in near the end of the cooking time along with a handful of dill. The dill sounds unusual, but trust me on this – it totally works. And the dumplings are a revelation. I usually make mine with suet, but these are lighter – yoghurt, flour, parmesan and more dill combine to more pillowy dumplings and when scattered with more Parmesan crisp up beautifully (even if you forget to take the lid off the pot and turn the oven up – hence my slightly pale looking ones!). Whilst I’ll never abandon my belowed suet toppings for a good old beef stew, these are definitely good. And if you don’t fancy them? This stew is equally as delicious with mashed potato (ideally with mustard) or some good bread.
- Olive oil for frying
- 1.5kg diced pork shoulder, tossed in 3 tbsp plain flour mixed with 1 tsp mustard powder and plenty of black pepper
- 6 banana shallots, halved lengthways
- 5 large carrots, halved, sliced diagonally into 1cm pieces
- 1 leek, sliced
- 3 celery sticks, sliced into 1cm pieces
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp fennel seeds
- 150ml dry sherry
- 750ml chicken stock
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 40g plain flour
- Zest and juice 1 lemon
- 60ml single cream
- Small bunch fresh dill
- 30g parmesan, grated
- For the parmesan dumplings – 150g self-raising flour, 150g full-fat greek yogurt, 25g parmesan, grated, 1/2 bunch fresh dill (reserve the rest for scattering over when serving)
Heat a glug of oil in a casserole pan and try the pork in batched until browned all over. Transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon, before adding a little more oil to the casserole along with the vegetables. Fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are starting to soften. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and fry for 1 minute, then return the pork to the casserole with any resting juices. Add the sherry and bubble for 5 minutes until slightly reduced, then add the stock and wholegrain mustard. Put the lid on the casserole and transfer to the oven, cooking for 2 hours at 160C.
When the two hours is nearly done, mix the 40g plain flour with the lemon zest and juice, then add a little water to form a smooth, creamy paste. Stir the paste into the casserole when the 2 hours’ cooking time is up, then allow to cook for 10 or so more minutes whilst you make the dumplings.
Put the 150g self-raising flour and yogurt in a mixing bowl with the parmesan and chopped dill, then season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a soft dough, then shape into 8 dumplings. Remove the casserole and turn the oven up to 220C. Stir the cream into the casserole along with most of the chopped dill, then top with the dumplings. Sprinkle the 30g parmesan over the top, then return to the oven for 20 minutes (without the lid) until the dumplings are puffed and golden. Serve scattered with the extra dill fronds and some green veg – it’s delicious with kale or cavelo nero.
And that’s it – it may be slightly more involved than my usual beef stew recipe, but it’s absolutely delicious. I imagine it would work perfectly well in a slow cooker, then you’d just need to transfer to the oven for the dumplings – or just serve with mash. I also quite like it with buttery jacket potatoes…
Are you a fan of slow cooked stews and casseroles? What’s your go-to recipe?