Simplest of Saturday suppers. I will not bore you with technique – so little to it. A super 700 gm piece of belly pork from those wonderful folk at Parsonage Farm – roasted after being slashed lightly across the skin, rubbed with a little olive oil, salt, and thyme – at 210c for 20 minutes, then 45 minutes at 160c. Result? Pork Perfection.
5 maris pipers boiled and mashed with butter, black pepper and salt. An onion sliced and pan fried, added to the mash, along with 5 leaves of steamed cavallo nero – the prince of greens and a table spoon of creamy horseradish. This was all then added with care to a large frying pan, lightly oiled where it was mixed further together and lightly browned.
Pile it high on a plate – slice the beauteous belly pork and arrange on each plate. Saturdays are made for such culinary delights. Simple ingredients of the highest quality – matched and married for a super supper.
The view that greeted us when we arrived this morning at Parsonage Farm was pure idyll. Tiny lambs bleating their hearts out in the spring sun. It was a wonderful few hours, sampling all the local cheeses, hams, pies and drinks. Great craft stalls too…but I was there for the food and drink! Pete’s Pork Pies are always delicious – I bought some of his game pie and my friend bought the pork pie – home made hand raised pastry – meat from Parsonage Farm – all local, all fantastic. Pic below of the game pie – it was devoured on our return in the garden along with some bottles of local cider to wash it down. (I’ve snaffled a piece away in a secret location for tomorrow…don’t tell anyone!)A company called Gastro Nicks were selling food stuffs imported direct from Sicily and I succumbed to a block of pecorino and a nero d’avola salami. I cannot explain just how sublime the salami tasted!
I spent some time admiring and sampling a variety of liqueurs. including Strawberry and Damson vodka, before eloping with a bottle of sloe gin….soooo good!
Ended up in the butchery at the farm tracking down some phenomenal belly pork for supper tomorrow. Great fair, great people and super produce! Spring is definitely here…let’s hope summer is not too far behind!
OK..this is not really anything to do with a cassoulet but it inspired me..and I love the word cassoulet…so good to get your tongue round..ca…sooo…lay….mmmmm! It is a great hearty dish for gathering friends round…you will need for about 6 needy folk:
60 gm lardons or pancetta or-at a pinch- smoked streaky bacon / 350 gm green lentils – Puy preferably / couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary / 1 red onion chopped / 2 cloves garlic finely chopped / 1 carrot finely diced / 900 ml chicken stock / 2 tbs olive oil / tbs red wine vinegar / tin of cannellini beans- meat can be all or any mix of the following – 4 pieces of belly pork, grilled or pan fried and cut into large chunks /good quality sausages -2 chipolatas per person was my choice last night – you could also add chunks of boiled or roasted ham hock, roasted chicken thighs or drumsticks…use your imagination.
I use a large stainless steel dutch oven – a pasta pan would be ideal – in which you pan fry the lardons til they start to colour, add then the onion, garlic and snip in the rosemary from one sprig. Fry for 2 minutes. Rinse the lentils..add to pan and fry for a minute tops. Add the stock and diced carrot. You could also add some celery if you wish. Season with black pepper – it may need a dash of salt but should not be necessary with the lardons and stock. Put lid on and bring to boil. Then pop in the oven with lid on for an hour at 160c.
After 50 minutes, I remove the pan and pour it all into a large roasting tin – add the meat and cannellini beans – put some foil over the top and return to oven – after an hour turn oven down very low to keep warm til you are ready to serve. Just before you take to table – stir in the red wine vinegar and a little more olive oil. I also roasted in my top oven, a tray of quartered potatoes in veg oil, sprinkled with sea salt, for an hour – adding some sliced cooked chorizo sausage for last ten minutes – gives the potatoes a lovely reddish tinge – a scrumptiously mouth filling delight- and I put a large basket of crusty bread on the table too. I put both trays of potatoes and the lentil dish on the table to serve from – and folk can also just dip their bread in as they desire!
Any leftovers are great the next day warmed through – though tis rare that there is anything left……!