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Delicious pork au feu recipe. Slow cooker/crock pot recipe.

 

Pork pot au feu

Pork pot au feu

Whenever I go abroad to a country with a warmer climate than the UK, I buy herbs to bring home. Somehow these are better than the ones available in the UK – perhaps the drying methods are better? I have an oregano herb mix that I bought in Crete over 11 years ago. It is stored in an airtight container in a dark place and is so powerful that we can only use a large pinch at a time. Sometimes I splash out on bouquet garni on these trips and last winter discovered a stash at the back of the larder.

These were from France and were amazing. Just before I was going to use the last one, I pulled it apart to find out what it contained. One large bay leaf and 20 sprigs of dried thyme – just that. Since then I’ve been using this combination in a lot of slow cooked dishes with great success. Most of these dishes taste like something that you would expect to guzzle at a good French bistro. Lots of depth and high notes – good rounded flavours that you would think that you couldn’t replicate at home. But, with the right ingredients, you can.

This dish takes five hours in the slow cooker or crock pot but it’s definitely worth the wait. Shoulder of pork needs to be slow cooked as it can easily be a bit dry and chewy when roasted. By cutting of the skin and fat and then grilling/broiling it separately you get the added treat of crispy crackling.  This tip was stolen from Celia’s excellent pork chop recipe  – which is a real treat if you can hold of really good and chunky pork chops.

This recipe pork au feu improves if it is left to cool overnight before heating up gently and serving the next day (left to cool it’s a doddle to remove any fat that’s lurking). This dish also freezes very well.

Delicious pork au feu (for 6-8 people)
Ingredients:
1.5 kilo joint of shoulder of pork
1.5 medium red onions roughly chopped
300g of carrots (scrubbed,topped and tailed, and cut into 3cm chunks)
300g of celeriac (Peeled and chopped) Secret Ingredient
4 medium potatoes cut into large chunks
1 stick of celery cut into large chunky pieces
4-6 chunky garlic cloves (skin on)
3 heaped tbsp of plain flour
Quarter tsp of ground mace
1 mock bouquet garni 1 dried/2 fresh bay leaves and twenty sprigs of dried thyme – Secret Ingredient
Half a tsp of dried savoury/savory (herb)
1 tsp of anchovy sauce (or one anchovy). Optional.
1.5 tsp of Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce)
2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp of mushroom ketchup or a heaped teaspoon of chopped dried mushrooms soaked for five minutes in boiling water (add the mushroom water to the slow cooker)
700-900 ml of hot vegetable stock (I used 2 heaped teaspoonfuls of vegetable stock powder)
Just before serving salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste.
Method:
Prepare all the vegetables and garlic cloves. Put them in the slow cooker/crock pot. Add the flour and stir to coat everything well.
Form a nest and place the pork in the middle. Scatter over savoury, thyme and pop in the fresh bay leaves.
In a measuring jug mix the anchovy sauce, mushroom ketchup, Lea & Perrins, balsamic vinegar and the hot vegetable stock.
Pour the liquid over the pork and vegetables – insuring that the vegetables are covered (the pork is turned over during the cooking). Put on the lid (the lid remains on for the entire cooking time) and switch to high for an hour. By this time the stock should be bubbling. Turn down to low for a further two hours and turn over the pork joint. Check after four hours (in total) for tenderness of the pork (you don’t want dog food). Ours took five hours in total, including the heating up time.
Serve in warm soup bowls with green beans or peas, lots of freshly chopped parsley and hot crusty bread on the side to soak up the yummy juices. I initially retained a lot of the juices (as in the photo) for a wonderful soup base but they were just too good, Danny ladled some onto our plates and we slurped happily!

 


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6 Comments

  1. Pork au feu sounds gorgeous.!
    I’ll be trying it out before long.
    I cook shoulder of pork slightly differently I pinched Jamie Olivers recipe everyone who has had it raves about it:
    8lb boned shoulder of pork, score the skin or get your butcher to do it for you, dry the skin as well as possible and rub with salt rub in sunflower oil or corn oil onto the skin, take about 10 sage leaves drop them into boiling water and fish out almost immediately tuck these leaves into the meat, put into a Large roasting tin and add 5 – 6 whole heads of garlic don’t peel, several whole onions as many as you think you can eat! And then put the pork and tin etc into a very hot oven as hot as your oven will go.
    Leave for about 45 mins to anhour then turn down the oven to 140c fan oven for 7 hours!
    The result is fabulous. Meat so tender it melts in your mouth.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Hilary

      That sounds amazing. We are going to cook this for our American friends when they visit this week.

  2. I remember bringing herbs back from Crete as well. You’re right – there is so much more depth to the flavour they give.

  3. Mmmmm that sounds lovely… I keep meaning to use our slow cooker more, perhaps I should give this a go at the weekend! 🙂

  4. Ohhh nuts. Here I was thinking I could do this one, especially since I have a shoulder in the freezer. But we Americans do not have mushroom catsup. How much in fresh mushrooms, do you think? Or would it still be good without ‘shrooms?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Paula

      Do you have dried mushrooms? If so these are a good alternative. For this size joint a teaspoon of chopped dried mushrooms soaked in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes and then added (water and all) when the stock goes in. Fresh sliced mushrooms added in the last hour – say half a pound.

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