I couldn't possibly begin to count the times we have made and eaten this dish, it's become such a standby that we barely even need the recipe to make it. It's from an ancient and battered 1983 edition of Delia's Complete Cookery Course. It's a great shove-it-in-the-oven-and-forget-about-it kind of meal that incorporates meat, some veg, sauce and potatoes, so only needs a simple veg accompaniment (we favour sweetheart cabbage) and dinnerl is complete. It's not exactly much of a 'looker' as a dish (and quite frankly I only remembered to take a photograph for the blog as I was about to raise the first forkful to my mouth!) but what it lacks in attractiveness it certainly makes up for in flavour.
Pork with Apples and Cider
4 lean pork chops or steaks (Delia says pork belly or spare rib chops, we prefer steaks)
6 rashers of bacon, chopped (Delia says unsmoked streaky, we use whatever we have)
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced (we use 2 if we are mid-apple-glut)
2 medium onions, chopped small
1/4 pint/150ml dry cider (we use a whole can)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 juniper berries crushed with the back of a spoon (optional)
1.5lb/700g potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
A little butter
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 140C/275F/gas 1.
Heat oil in a frying pan and brown the pork on both sides, then transfer to a wide shallow casserole with a lid. Next, in the same pan, brown the bacon then place on top of the pork and season.
Now sprinkle over the garlic and juniper berries (if using), then the apple and onion. Add the cider and cover with a layer of overlapping potatoes. Finally put some dabs of butter onto the potatoes, cover the dish with foil or greaseproof paper, then with a close-fitting lid.
Transfer the dish to the oven and cook for 3 hours.
Towards the end of the cooking time preheat the grill to a high setting, then place the dish uncovered under the grill to brown the potatoes. (We don't always bother with this step. It leaves the potatoes a little anaemic, but doesn't affect the taste).