So last year I entered a competition. I’m not going to lie, I did it because the prize money was £20,000 and all that was required was a classic British recipe. I thought, well hey, I can cook, I’m British, why not…..So that summer I was chosen to take part and went for some filming. Loyd Grosman was my judge. He tasted and commented on my dish while I sat apprehensively perched on the edge of my stool gazing intensely into his face like an interrogator. However, he handed me a shiny red rosette and I went on my way through….However, I’m afraid it stopped there. But BOY is it YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This recipe also appears in a cook book to accompany the TV series but for all you folk who don’t want to buy it- tut tut….here it is. Unfortunately they didn’t show my interview on the episode. I think I was too normal for Wednesday night entertainment…….
- 1kg pork shoulder, skin removed and reserved for cracking
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 200g smoked bacon lardons/pancetta
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 175ml red wine
- Handful dried wild mushrooms, soaked in 200ml boiling water (reserved)
- A few large rosemary sprigs, leaves chopped finely
- 7-8 large sage leaves, chopped finely
- Handful of thyme, chopped finely
- 400g tinned tomatoes
- 400g haricot beans (2 tins)
- Extra chooped herbs to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based casserole dish and brown the pork all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside
- Add the onion and bacon and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and the bacon is crispy. Add the garlic and bay leaf and cook for a few minutes.
- Increase the heat and pour in the red wine to de-glaze the pan and simmer for a few minutes
- Drain the soaked mushrooms, reserving the liquid, and chop them roughly. Add to the casserole dish with a generous handful of the chopped herbs and cook for a few minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and season.
- Add the pork and top up the liquid using the reserved mushroom stock until it comes about ¾ the way up the sides.
- Bring to the boil then place in the oven with a lid for 2 ½ hours
- After this time, remove from the oven and add the drained beans. (If there is only a small amount of liquid in the tins, add this too as it will help thicken). Return to the oven without the lid and cook for about 30 minutes more to brown the meat and thicken the sauce.
- Remove from the oven when ready and use forks to shred the pork among the cassoulet. If it needs thickening, reduce on the hob or add more mushroom stock if too thick.
- Garnish with lots of freshly chopped sage and rosemary and a heart attack inducing shard of cracking!
All that’s left to do is sit down and enjoy with a leggy red wine and (hopefully) wonder why it wasn’t worthy of £20,000!
WINE: For a delicious and affordable treat, try a classic red Bordeaux. And what would be better than a glass of Château Grand Village, 2011 Bordeaux Supérieur. Being the second vineyard of the infamous Chateau Lafleur it a more economically friendly and delightful alternative if you haven’t got the budget for the real deal. Available at Armit Wines.
Best recipe in the book….certainly beats whats on page 157………..(bet you want to know what that is now….)