I used to think it was pretty straightforward. “Build it and they will come” was my approach. A pork stew was a pork stew. If I announced it and cooked it, they would be there, happy to be fed in the family kitchen. In more recent times, I have noticed a worrying trend. The casual conversation is no longer “Whatyacooking Pops?”. No, it has shifted slightly towards “Oh, Pork Casserole. How are you cooking it? What are you adding? What will make it really special this time?”.
If my description is zazzy enough, I will get agreement to dine. Often, if I have excelled myself, there will be a request to bring some friend or even a randomer or two along to eat me out of house and home. I try to avoid being sullen and feeling put upon. Instead, their quizzing on content and method has spurred me on to greater creativity.
Creativity that this time leads to Pork Casserole with Cranberries and Dried Apricots. Uniquely in my posts, this time I have two ingredients shots.
I excelled myself in leaving out the following from the first photo;
And having thought it through, I completely forgot the paprika. There is a generous teaspoon of the smoked variety in this fine dish.
Here’s what I did.
Frist I added the pork pieces to a large kitchen bowl and added seasoned flour to cover before frying this off, in olive oil, in the casserole dish.
Side note: I normally do this in a plastic bag but since we got a new hound, all the plastic bags (secreted from the vegetable department of the supermarket) get taken out on walks with the hound. You can work the rest out yourself.
I make a point of scraping the browned flour off the bottom of the casserole to prevent it burning. It goes back in with the meat and adds to the flavour.
Next I sweated down the onions, celery, garlic and ginger. Then I added the pork, the stock, the paprika, the bay leaves, the tomatoes and some seasoning. This was heated on the hob for a while. Then I added the carrots, apricots and cranberries (The action shot of this is at the top of the post).
Into a 170 degree C oven for two and a half hours and out comes a magnificent casserole.
They all showed up. They ate their fill and gave it high praise. Now all I have to do is improve on it for the next time…
In the better food blogs, around about this point is where the “Wine Paring” takes place. I will not disappoint you either. Everything you need to know is on the label. Everything you want to know is that it was delicious and a perfect partner for this, the King of Casseroles by the Casserole King.