I discovered this recipe in a Sainsburys Magazine and it has been sitting in my ‘recipe’ drawer for a number of weeks. Now, I wonder why I didn’t make it sooner as the flavour of this casserole is wonderful – fruity, spicy, slightly crunchy from the topping, sweet as well as a little sour from the cherries. The mint, lemon and chilli in the topping really bring something to this dish. It’s definitely not just another boring casserole and the beauty of it, is that it freezes well.
I didn’t have pistachio kernels so used cashew nuts instead. I also used buckwheat flour instead of plain flour to make it gluten-free.
The recipe makes six generous servings.
3 tablespoons plain flour (I used buckwheat flour as GF)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
800g diced pork shoulder
3 tablespoons olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 large onions, in wedges
3 celery sticks, in chunks
2 tablespoons tomato purée
400ml hot chicken or a good vegetable stock
2 tablespoons clear honey
Zest and juice of 1 lemon*
1 x 500g pack Chantenay carrots, trimmed
100g prunes, halved
1 x 75g pack dried cherries
Zest of 1 lemon plus juice, to taste*
Large handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
25g pistachio kernels (I used cashew nuts) finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Combine the flour and spices with some salt and pepper in a bowl, adding the pork making sure it is fully coated.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large fry pan and brown half of the pork over a high heat, then remove to a plate. Brown the rest of the pork in another tablespoon of oil and keep any flour left in the bowl.
Fry the onions and celery in the remaining oil until starting to soften and caramelise. This can be done in an ovenproof casserole or a fry pan and transfer to a casserole dish when done.
Tip the leftover spiced flour into the onion mixture and stir in the tomato purée. Cook for one minute.
Add the pork, stock, honey, lemon zest and juice. Bring to a simmer and either cover with a lid and pop in the oven for one hour, or pour into the lidded casserole dish. After an hour, stir in the carrots (halve any large ones) and the dried fruit and cook for a further hour or until the meat is tender.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining lemon zest, mint, garlic, nuts and chilli in a bowl.
Serve the fruity pork with rice or couscous and sprinkle over the topping. This casserole would certainly go with cauliflower rice another time.
This dish freezes well but should be defrosted for 24 hours in the fridge and reheated for about 20 minutes in a lidded pan. The topping should be freshly made for best results.
*I used my lemon ‘granules‘ straight from the freezer in place of the zest and juice. About three heaped tablespoons in the casserole, and 2 tablespoons for the topping.
NB: All the photographs used in this blog have been taken by me, and are of food I have prepared myself.