Somerset pork, Somerset apples, Somerset pork casserole

Pigs are traditionally associated with orchards… and areas where there are acorns which are poisonous to cattle but delicious to porkers. It seems Gloucestershire was where pigs and orchards are most closely associated, and the pigs in that county were of curse the Gloucester Old Spots. Pigs clear up all the left over apples, old and diseased and rotting apples, but apparently should not be left there for too long as they rootle and dig and can churn up the ground, damaging the roots and trees. It’s best to keep other animals out of orchards as they too can damage the trees, nibbling the branches and leaves if they are tall like horses or cattle, and stripping the bark if they are sheep-sized.

Maybe it’s not surprising that given the apple/pig association there should also be an apple/pork association – especially since the two go so well together. Here’s a recipe, a traditional very old recipe for just that combo:

Somerset pork casserole

  • 3lbs lean diced pork
  • 1 head of celery, chopped and sliced
  • 2 dessert apples
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 8 oz dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz raisins, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz stoned dates, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 1 level tsp each marjoram, thyme, mace, cinnamon, black pepper, mild curry powder
  • ½ bottle cider (it doesn’t say what sized bottle! I recommend a dry cider)
  • 1 oz seasoned flour
  • garnish with walnuts (fried in a little butter)  and oranges, segmented
  1. brown the meat in batches and transfer to a casserole
  2. fry onions and celery in the same pan and transfer to casserole with meat
  3. add remaining ingredients (except garnish) to pot
  4. bring to a simmer and slow cook for 3 hours
  5. decant into serving dish, arrange orange segments on top and scatter with walnuts

This recipe goes back to Tudor times!

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