Saturday, 27 September 2014

Pork and chorizo stew

Culinary Consultant week continues here on the blog this week. This recipe was created and cooked by him with very little contribution from me, apart from taking the photos and typing up this post (although I do take credit for the suggestion of adding chorizo to it). This stew was waiting for me when I got home from work the other Friday. He is much better at cooking healthy food than I am, he seems to naturally gravitate towards rather wholesome home cooked basic food. I'm more about carbs and cheese and chocolate. To be honest, I do wish I didn't have all these crazy cravings all the time and would be happy to just eat basic healthy food. But don't worry, I will be back with some of my very unhealthy carb and sugar loaded recipes soon! To be honest, I may just extend Culinary Consultant week for one more post to show you he does cook puddings as well. 

Back to the star of the day. The combination of sweet and spicy paprika gives the stew just a little bit of a kick, without being too overpowering and the chorizo and red peppers bring lovely flavour. As it's about time to admit it's no longer summer, evenings are getting colder and darker a hearty stew is very appropriate. We enjoyed it with a glass of cider. This makes quite a big serving, but it can easily be frozen for later, and it only gets better when re-heated so a few days in the fridge will only improve it further.

Pork and chorizo stew (serves 8):
2 parsnips
4 carrots
10 medium potatoes (we used Red Duke of York grown in our own potato patch)
1 kg (2.2 lb) pork steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
black pepper to taste
1/2 + 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika powder
1 + 2 tsp hot smoked paprika powder
about 100 g chorizo 
2 medium onions
3-4 cloves garlic
1 sweet pepper (eg. 1/2 green and 1/2 red)
1 sachet of Schwarz Summerset Pork Casserole spice mix (or some other spice mix you like)
1/2 cup dry apple cider 
2 apples

The howto:
Peel and slice the parsnips, carrots and potatoes. Cut the pork into slices. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the pork on medium heat until cooked through. Add a grind of black pepper, about 1/2 tsp of sweet paprika and 1 tsp of hot paprika powder to the pork while it's cooking. When pork is cooked, transfer to a bowl and pour any juices in the pan into a jug. Slice the chorizo and sweet pepper, finely chop onions and garlic. Slowly heat chorizo in a pan until it starts to release fat into the pan, add the peppers, onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften a little. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 F)

Layer the root veg, pork and chorizo/onion/pepper mix in a large oven proof dish (we used a 4.5 litre Pyrex casserole dish) with a lid. 

Boil a kettle with about 1 litre of water. Add the sachet of spice mix to the jug with the pork juices, and add 2 tsp sweet and 2 tsp spicy paprika powder. Add 500 ml of hot water and mix well. Pour the apple cider and spice mix over the casserole. Add hot water from the kettle until all ingredients in the casserole dish are covered. 

Cook in the middle of the oven at 190 degrees for about 2 hours with the lid on. Peel and slice the apples, layer on top of the casserole and return to oven for another 1/2 hour, again with the lid on.

The verdict:
The Culinary Consultant is a big fan of casseroles (not least because they make a large serving with no need for cooking for days) and he cooks them from time to time. Usually they are made with beef, but I think this is the first one with pork. I thought it was a really tasty and hearty casserole with very well balanced flavours. And I'm not a very big fan of pork, so that should tell you something. I think the sweetness from the apples and the sweet peppers compliment the lovely full flavours of the pork and chorizo very well. This is also turned out to be a rather frugal recipe, we got the pork on a great offer of £5 for a kilogram, the apples, onions and potatoes were from our own garden. The apple cider we used was a ridiculously expensive one (in my defence, I didn't buy it, my Mum did). If you used regular cider, that would take the cost down even more, but I worked it out that the total cost of ingredients (excluding what we got for free from the garden and the spices and olive oil), it came to a total of £9.66 or £1.20 per serving.

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