Friday Feast - Gingered Pork Hot Pot
8 rashers de-rinded streaky bacon
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
5cm (2in) fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely grated
1 tablespoon oil, optional
2 level tablespoons flour
1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
Good pinch of ground cloves or allspice optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless pork loin steaks (about 125g/4oz each)
3 Pink Lady or Jazz apples
600ml (1 pint) apple juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnish
4 small to medium-sized potatoes (about 650g/11⁄4lb)
About 30g (1oz) butter
Cut the bacon into strips, add to a large, hot frying pan and dry-fry for a few minutes until crispy. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl.
Add the onion to the bacon fat in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, and oil if you think it needs it, and cook until softened. Remove from the pan and mix with the bacon.
Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Mix the flour, spices and seasoning on a plate and use to coat the pork steaks. Keep excess flour.
Quarter the apples (no need to peel them), core and slice the quarters into 3 or 4.
Spoon half the onion mixture into the dish. Put 2 of the pork steaks on top, then half the apple wedges. Repeat the layers.
Tip any leftover flour into the frying pan, whisk in a little of the apple juice to make a paste, then gradually add more juice and bring to the boil. Add the thyme leaves and pour it into the casserole.
Arrange the thinly sliced (unpeeled) potatoes over. Season well and put small knobs of butter on top. Cover with buttered paper, or foil, put on a baking tray and cook for 1 1⁄2 hours.
Take the paper, or foil, off and cook for another 1 1⁄4 - 1 1⁄2 hours, until the potatoes are tender and golden. Sprinkle with thyme, if you like. Serve with vegetables.
Things I do: This does make of bit of a mess around the rim of the casserole dish so I always stand the dish on a baking tray in the oven. Otherwise, I change nothing, except that if you can't get hold of fresh ginger you could use ground ginger instead - although I haven't had to do this. And a sprinkling of dried thyme could replace fresh thyme.
And, of course, if spices aren't for you, you could always leave the ginger and other spices out altogether. There are a lot of similarities between this dish and Sausage Cider Hotpot, which I posted in November - and that works great without any spices. To compensate you could just increase the amount of thyme used if you like. It's your kitchen, you play:)