Spanish Pork Casserole with Iberican Pork, Paprika, Potatoes and Olives.
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At this time of year, I crave delicious warming casseroles and stews like this Beef Bourguignon or this classic Coq au Vin. But, I’m also usually very busy and quite often need to get supper on the table in half an hour or so. That’s where these delicious Lomo slices from Unearthed win, hands down. They are loin cuts from the back and side of the pig, tender and low in fat (212 calories per hundred grams of meat, so lower than almost every other red meat). And, like all Iberican Pork, the meat is healthy, the special black pigs enjoy life roaming freely and feeding on acorns in the Dehesa which results in a fat that is high in oleic acid, which helps to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce the bad one (LDL). Pork is also better for the environment, with a carbon footprint about a third of that from ruminants (beef, lamb and venison for example). It ranks at around the same level as poultry or fish!
As it happens I’ve just come back from a trip to learn more about these very special Iberian pigs in the Dehesa, Spain. We did eat a lot of ham but we also tried a product which is less well known in the UK, fresh Iberian pork. So, I was thrilled to be approached by Unearthed, and to discover that they have just introduced their fresh Iberian meat range, to create a recipe for them.
This is the unearthed Iberican Lomo – you get two steaks in each vacuum-sealed pack, so it’s just the right amount to make supper for two people. You’ll find the products in the chilled meat section at good supermarkets, or you can order online from Ocado.
Now, you could simply take the meat out the packet, brush it with oil and grill it, or pan fry it like a steak. But, if you want a more substantial dinner, then this Spanish style pork casserole is delicious and only takes a few minutes to put together. Because the meat is tender and full of flavour, you really don’t need to cook it for hours – and in fact, I think you’d spoil the result if you did.
What I did do though, was copy a tip I learnt from Jose Pizzaro, who I saw demonstrating how to cook with Iberican Pork. I marinated the pork for about twenty minutes in a mixture of sweet smoked paprika, cumin, fennel seeds and olive oil. While the meat was picking up some complementing spicy notes, I cooked up a potato and tomato stew. The lightly seared pork was then popped on top with a handful of Unearthed’s rosemary-infused olives and the whole dish was finished in the oven for just 10 minutes.
So, a supper dish that was on the table in around 45 minutes from start to finish but had the kind of depth of flavour you normally get from dishes that have taken hours to cook in the oven. A cheat way to make a Spanish Pork Casserole with Paprika.
An easy and quick Spanish style pork casserole that cooks deceptively quickly
- 2 Iberico Lomo Steaks
- 1 teaspoon Sweet Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 large Potato
- 1 medium Onion
- 1/3 packet Unearthed Mixed Olives in Rosemary
- 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
- 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil for the potato stew
Mix together the cumin, paprika, fennel seeds and olive oil in a large bowl
Add the pork steaks, cover and put to one side
Peel and slice the potato and onion
Warm half a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based casserole
Gently soften the onion slices for 5 minutes before adding the potato and tomatoes
Bring the mixture to a simmer then cover and put in the oven at 170C
After 15 minutes, drain the oil from the marinading pork into a frying pan
Heat till smoking lightly, stirring to bring out the aroma of the spices
Add the pork steaks and sear for 2-3 minutes on both sides
Tip the juices and spices into the casserole and stir through together with the olives. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Lift the pork steaks out of the frying pan and place on top of the casserole. Put the casserole uncovered back into the oven and cook for a further ten minutes
Check the seasoning and serve garnished with fresh parsley.
Of course, the best way to serve this Spanish Pork Casserole with paprika is with a glass of red wine and perhaps a green salad or some crusty bread on the side.
Thinking of making this dish at home? Why not pin it for later
If you are looking for an alternative quick casserole, I can recommend this sweet and sour sausage casserole.
Disclosure: I was sent sample of Iberican pork by unearthed an a small fee for developing and photographing this dish.