Pork & Pears

This is a new recipe for me – it is from the South West of Poland, the area called Śląsk – Silesia in English.

Pyrus communis is the European pear.

Pears originated in the Caucasus and then spread to Asia and Ancient Persia and from there to Europe.

Pears have been cultivated for over 4,000 years.

The Polish for pear is gruszka

Pears are more demanding than apples and so you will find that there are more pear orchards in Southern Poland where there is more sun and because of the fertile soil.

Conference is a a popular cultivated variety in England. It was cultivated by Thomas Francis Rivers and it won 1st prize in 1885 National British Pear Conference in London.

It is also popular and grown in Poland now where it is called Konferencja.

This is a good pear for this recipe as it need to be a hard pear that keeps its shape and does not disintegrate.

Version 1 Using Shoulder Pork

Ingredients

400g – 500g of shoulder pork – in slices.

4 -5 hard pears such as Conference

1 parsnip

1 carrot

1 onion

1 -2 tablespoons of plain flour.

300ml of vegetable or chicken stock (can be from powder or a cube)

4 -5 grains of  ziele angeliskie which is allspice

Salt

Sunflower oil for frying.

 

Allspice also called pimenta or Jamaican pepper is very popular in Polish cookery.

It is the dried unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, a tree native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico and Central America.

The name allspice was coined as early as 1621 by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

It used to be very popular in England and that is why in Poland it is called ziele angielskie which means English herb(Why herb rather than spice I do not know!) 

Until recently it seemed to have fallen out of favour in England though now it seems to be being used more and more.

In Poland it is used with meats as well as or instead of peppercorns and is used in cakes.

I have been able to obtain it a lot more readily in the past few years and am now using it a great deal especially in casseroles as I love the taste.

Method

Pre-heat the oven to GM4 – 180°C

Peel & chop the parsnip and carrot into rough cubes.

Chop the onion into small pieces.

Fry the all gently together and put them at the bottom of a the casserole dish.

Lightly dust the pork and fry gently in sunflower oil.

 

Add the pork on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle with salt.

Pour in the stock & put on the lid.

Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour – then turn the oven down to GM3 – 160°C and cook for another 2 hours.

Peel the pears and cut then in half and remove core & pips.

Place the pears on top of the meat & cover with the lid.

Cook for around 20 – 30 minutes until the pears are tender.

You can make this in advance with just the vegetables and pork and then re-heat it at GM4 – 180°C – for around an hour and then add the pears.

Using Dried Pears

Dried pears are often used rather than fresh – drying fruit is a very popular method of fruit preservation in Poland & means that this recipe could be made in the winter when all the fresh fruit was no longer available.

Dried Pears are for sale in the fruit and nut stall In Kirkstall Market in Leeds.

You have to reconstitute the pears – this is best done overnight.

Place the pears in a dish and pour hot weak black tea over the pears and leave them or you can use just hot boiled water  – I think the pears with tea taste better.

Cook the meat as before and after you have added the re-constituted pears cook the dish for another 30 – 35 minutes.

Version 2 Using Pork Loin with dried pears

You have to reconstitute the pears – this is best done overnight.

Place the pears in a dish and pour hot weak black tea over the pears and leave them or you can use just hot boiled water  – I think the pears with tea taste better.

Fry some slices of pork loin on both sides in a mixture of oil and butter in a deep frying pan.

Add the reconstituted pears about 3 per piece of meat with some of the liquid.

Cover the pans with a tight fitting lid (good to have a glass one to see what is happening – as it is easy for this to burn because of the sugar in the pears & liquid) and simmer for 25 -30 minutes.

 

 

One of my books said these went very well with dumplings from Śląsk (Silesia in English) – these I will have to investigate for a later post next year.

 

 

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Vegetable Fritters

The Polish for these is kotlety z jarzyn  – cutlets from vegetables.

The word kotlety(plural) comes from the Italian word cotoletta(singular) for cutlet or chop.

These are made with boiled or steamed vegetables.

Root vegetables are good here as well as cooked cabbage – you can also add cooked pulses such as peas and beans –  I am writing a post just about bean fritters which will be posted soon.

The following vegetable are ones I often use: cabbage, carrots, celeriac, cauliflower, parsnip and potato.

The cooked vegetables need to be chopped fine, minced or mashed – whichever is more suitable or easiest.

 

For this post I cooked the vegetables especially but this is a good way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables.

Ingredients

Around 500g of cooked vegetables – chopped,mashed or minced as appropriate.

2 onions – chopped fine

Butter to fry the onions

1 egg (can add another egg yolk as well)

2 – 3 tablespoons of potato flour – depends on how moist or starchy the vegetables are.

Salt & pepper

Dried Breadcrumbs

Sunflower oil for frying

Extras – you can add chopped parsley, dill or chives or any other herbs you like.

Method

Chop fine, mash or mince the vegetables as appropriate.

Chop the onions and fry them gently in butter till golden and leave to cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix the vegetables and the onion together.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add enough potato flour to make the mixture fairly stiff.

Add salt and pepper.

Put dried breadcrumbs on a board or large plate.

Make largish balls of the mixture and flatten them onto the breadcrumbs, turn them over  and cover all the sides.

Fry them gently in hot sunflower oil.

You can keep them warm on a baking tray in the oven whilst making the rest.

Reheating

I like these reheated – Place them on a baking tray into a pre-heated hot oven GM6  200°C for around 15  minutes.

The combinations are endless – here are some ideas ….

Cauliflower & Spring Onions or Chives

As in the instructions above with the addition of chopped spring onion (the green part) or chives.

 

 

Carrot & Parsnip

 

Carrot, Potato & Peas

 

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