A Somerset Cider and Pork Recipe for Easter:
My mother’s side of the family were farmers and I grew up visiting my aunt and uncle who were pig farmers from Wiltshire. About this time of year, the kitchen had two baskets either side of the aga, with piglets on one side and lambs on the other side that my aunt was hand rearing. I used to love visiting and cuddling the babies…I also got to ride on a particularly large pig until I grew too much. My aunt made her own butter and cider, just as my Grandmother and Great Grandmother had done (not Somerset, but that’s where my mum was from, and my Grandparents). And, the farm cider we took home with us was the basis for this dish, which I am sure is familiar to many people. It was a lot stronger than anything you can buy in the shops…and I don’t remember it being fizzy. But, I wasn’t supposed to be drinking it either, so maybe that’s just my imagination!
My mum’s version didn’t have cream and the mustard she used was the kick-a*** colman’s bright yellow sort. She also used sage rather than thyme and this dish was generally made with chops or pork steaks, left whole and cooked slowly for a couple of hours. But my sage is a little sad right now and I was only making enough for 2 people. So I substituted thyme and tenderloin and my posh maille dijon mustard. Pork tenderloin is incredibly good value meat, but very lean and I think if you are using it, the dish really benefits from pancetta or lardons of bacon to add a bit of depth to the sauce.
One of the real benefits of this recipe is that by using tenderloin you end up with a casserole that tastes as if it has taken hours to cook in around 45 minutes. Thyme gives an altogether lighter flavour than sage and the dish will also taste very different if you use a different variety of apple. Granny smiths are quite sharp and I think the best eating apples to use in savory dishes. But all of this is down to personal taste.[sfwp id=134 img=itemtype.png]