JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, August 27, 2007

Slow roasted pork with plums

Yesterday, we were all busy ... Lucius was making a sculpture in the wood, the boys took Bruce down to the village for a game of cricket (we won, and Bruce took a catch off Alfred's bowling), Sam and Catrin lazed in the sun with their two tiny children, Menna, Anna and I went garden visiting .... and supper cooked itself.

The recipe is simple and infinitely variable ... you put your belly of pork into a slow oven for four hours. What you do in the way of flavouring can change every time you make it. At this time of year, like Fiona and Danny, whose recipe this is, I put it on a bed of Victoria plums, because there are masses of them breaking the boughs of our young tree (lucky us, what a great problem to have!).

As we were making a sauce with the plums and the juices, Horatio came in and asked about gravy. There's no gravy, it's plum sauce. Consternation. Call it plum gravy if you like. Disappointment. Why can't we have gravy AND plum sauce?

Over dinner, once he'd eaten a huge plateful, Horatio came up with a solution for making slow roasted pork with apple sauce AND gravy. Put a rack in the roasting tray, then put the apple slices, then the pork, so that the meat juices drip through the apples (making the apples even more delicious), and leaving juices with which to make gravy. What do you think? I think he's well on the road to becoming a food blogger!

Meanwhile, this is what we did yesterday:

Preheat the oven to 160C. Meanwhile, rub the pork belly with herbs, salt too, if you use that to make crackling (I don't, but each to his own). Put plums, as many as you have, in the bottom of the roasting tray, then place the meat on top. Put in the oven for four hours; turn it down to 140C for the last hour. When it's done, take it out to rest for 10-15 minutes, while you make the sauce. This recipe takes the same amount of time however big or small your pork is, because belly is such a thin cut ... I had to cut a little off the end of our huge piece to get it into the oven, and the smaller piece needed longer in the oven (because it was on the lower shelf).

First, pour the juices into a jug and leave them to settle. Next, ease the stones out of the plums (this is quick and easy, and best done at this point, because stoning the raw plums takes much longer). Pour the fat off the top of the juices (but not down the sink), then mush up the plums. A little wine, something to sweeten it, something savoury (especially if you didn't rub the meat with salt) ... it's hard to remember exactly what we did to make the sauce taste right.

We ate this with little new potatoes, caponata-ish, and a salad, again by candlelight out in the garden. There was a lot of rushing off to look at the moon through the telescope, and later, some people ate rhubarb and custard - the first we've picked from the rhubarb I planted last spring. I was in fast asleep in bed by then, but luckily there's some left over to eat with my breakfast porridge.

Thanks Fiona - great recipe, which contributed to a memorable evening!

Ideal food for a party - no fuss, no bother, really good, and pretty cheap. What more could you ask?


Cottage Smallholder said...

So glad that our recipe worked for you! I love the idea of the apples and automatic gravy. Good twist.

Swaha Miller said...

Thanks for accepting my late entry into HotM 6.

I WILL have to try this one (the apples version), what with our newfound freedom to eat pork again (Baby allergic no more!) and the 8 lb bag of apples we got yesterday.

The duck recipe sounds and looks terrific as well.

Maggie said...

Have just found you via another blog. I too am going to try this recipe.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I'm so enjoying these dinners outside in the candlelight out in the garden. Yes, Horatio is on his way!

David Hall said...

That is a seriously good recipe - pork and plums, mmm. I'm just marinading some ribs from the last belly I had for sticky ribs this evening. I now want to do this recipe with urgency! Good idea about the plums too, one thing I am not a fan of is stoning plums. Brilliant!!!


Figs, Bay, Wine said...

What a beautiful, evocative recipe - heavenly early autumn. I'm inspired to make this as soon as I can get some more plums! Thank you so much, Joanna!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious... am definitely going to try it. And it's a good year for plums, too!

Helene said...

Hello Joanna,
desparately awaiting the MoH round up. Did I miss it? ;)

Anonymous said...

Great to have a different use for plums. Our Victorias have produced a lot of small ones this year, and this is an ideal way of using them, easily! I like the idea of garden dining by candle-light, too.

Many thanks

Annemarie said...

Hi Joanna- Never thought of combining pork and plums, but I really like the sound of this - thanks for the inspiration.
I've tagged you to take part in the Famous 4 meme, started at Tracing Paper; you can see the questions on my blog. Hope that's ok!

David Hall said...

Joanna, I'm off to get the belly pork today to do thi dish tonight. Do you mind if I tweak it and post an amended version up some time? I'll ensure to mention the original recipe of course!