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  • Pork, Bacon & Mushroom Stew

    It's finally stew season! Warm up after chilly Autumn walks with piping hot bowls of this hearty dish - as good reheated as it is the day of cooking...

    A Stew of Pork, Bacon & Mushrooms with Cream, Cider & Parsley

    Serves 4

    I N G R E D I E N T S

    dash of extra-virgin olive oil
    1 piece of cured pork belly
    streaky bacon (about 350g/12oz), cut into 4–5cm (1½–2in) cubes
    500g (1lb 2oz) fresh pork belly, cut into 4–5cm (1½–2in) cubes
    1 large or 2 small leeks, halved and sliced
    2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
    4–6 bay leaves
    2–3 rosemary sprigs
    2–3 thyme sprigs
    2 tablespoons plain flour
    450ml (16fl oz) cider
    450ml (16fl oz) pork, chicken or vegetable stock
    A knob of butter
    250g (9oz) wild or cultivated mushrooms, cut into large pieces
    200ml (7fl oz) double cream
    small bunch of parsley
    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    M E T H O D

    Heat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 3.

    Start by heating the oil in a large heavy-based casserole set over a medium–high heat. Add the cured and fresh pork belly pieces and cook the meat for 6–8 minutes, or until well browned on all sides.

    Lift the pieces out of the pan using a spatula or slotted spoon and set aside. Add the leeks to the same pan, along with the sliced garlic, all the herbs and a little seasoning.

    Sweat the leeks gently for about 10 minutes, then return the browned pork pieces to the pan, sprinkle over the plain flour and stir well.

    Cook for a further 3–4 minutes, then pour in the cider and stock and bring to a simmer. Stir well, then place a tight-fitting lid on the pan and place in the oven for 2 hours, until the pork is fork tender.

    Meanwhile, set a large frying pan over a high heat and add the butter. When it’s bubbling, add the mushrooms, season them lightly and sauté, turning them regularly, for 6–8 minutes, until cooked through. Set aside.

    When the casserole is ready, remove it from the oven and add the fried mushrooms and double cream. Stir well, then return the pan to the oven for 15 minutes without its lid.

    Stir in the chopped parsley and check the seasoning before bringing to the table with a sharply dressed green salad and some good bread.

    Recipe from Time: a year and a day in the kitchen by Gill Meller (Quadrille, £25.00) Photography: Andrew Montgomery