Pork with Sour Plums

My holiday in Poland earlier this year has inspired many new recipes and posts.

This one was from a meal of slow cooked belly pork with caramelised sour plums and roast potatoes, which I had at the Gvara Restaurant.

 

I tried doing caramelised plums but did not have any success, as it was the sourness I liked, I did the plums a different way.

This works well with plums that are not quite ripe, I used small ones from the supermarket, the sort they say will ripen at home (I find they never do!).

Sour Plums

  • 4-5 per person depending on size.
  • Simmer whole with some water and a little sugar in a shallow wide pan with a lid till soft.
  • Keep taking off the lid and stirring and adjusting the heat etc.
  • You do not want a lot of liquid .
  • Aiming for cooked but still sour – add a little sugar at end if needed.

 

Roast Pork with Sour Plums

I roasted a joint of pork loin – I think that is much nicer than leg of pork.  You could just grill pork chops for this.

Serve the pork with the plums.

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

 

Slightly Chinese Style Slow Cooked Belly Pork

 

Ingredients

  • Large piece of belly pork
  • 1 can of Jamaican fiery ginger beer – regular with sugar (NOT sweetener)
  • Sliced piece of peeled root ginger – around 8cm long (finger length)
  • 3- 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • Several long chilies, fresh or dried.
  • 3-4 grains allspice or cloves.
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 8 black peppercorns

Method

  • Place everything in a slow cooker and cook for at least 4 hours (often more)– till flesh is soft.
  • Remove from juices and cut into thick slices to serve. 

 

 

Served on Royal Doulton Tapestry 1966 – 1988.

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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More Pork & Prunes

This recipe is in an old Polish style  –  po staropolsku  with its use of prunes and honey. I love the flavour of the meat with this sweetness added to it.

See also Pork & Prunes recipe 2

Pork & Prunes 3

This is a dish could be served on special occasions such as Christmas Day.

This recipe needs a large piece of pork loin which will have some of the prunes placed in cuts on the top.

I usually use prunes with the stones still in however in January 2017 there were no prunes with stones on the market in Leeds. The lady on the stall said this was because of a very poor harvest – so I have used these stoned prunes to try out the recipe for the photographs & this post.

Ingredients

1.5kg – 2kg boneless pork loin in one piece – skinless if possible (I used a joint with skin on this time – I think skinless is defiantly  better)

 

200g prunes

100ml of  sherry or vermouth

350ml of chicken stock – can be made from stock cubes

bouquet garni made from flat leaf parsley, bay leaf and thyme

1 tablespoon of plain flour

2 tablespoons of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

salt & ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of honey

Method

You will need a roasting tin with a lid.

Pour the stock into a pan and bring it to the boil and then add the prunes and cover these with a lid.  Let them simmer gently for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Allow the prunes to cool so you can handle them and take out the stones.

Take 8-10 of the prunes and put them in a dish and pour the sherry over them and leave them for at least 30 minutes.

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 3 – 1600C.

Take the pork and in what will be the top make 8 to 10 deep cuts with a sharp knife.  Into each pocket place one of the prunes that has been soaked in the wine.

(If your joint has the skin on it then cut under the skin and put the prunes between the skin and the meat).

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Keep the sherry liquid as you will need it later.

Coat the joint with the flour, salt and pepper.

In a frying pan, melt the butter, add the oil and on a high heat, brown all the sides of the joint or if the joint is too large for the pan use the roasting pan on top of the stove to fry it in.

Put the meat and the frying juices into the roasting tin.

Add 6 tablespoons of the stock and cover the dish with the lid and put the dish in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes.

Take the dish out of the oven , add the rest of the prunes and the stock, put the lid back on and cook in the oven for another 40-50 minutes until the meat is tender.

Take out the meat and put it on a warm serving dish cover it with foil and a tea towel and leave it to rest in a warm place whilst you finish the sauce.

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Take the bouquet garni out of the dish and add the sherry liquid and honey  to the prunes and bring this to the boil.  Then simmer it gently and use a balloon whisk to blend the sauce together and break up any large pieces of prunes.

Pour the sauce into a gravy boat or jug and serve with the meat.

Slice up the meat.

 

 

Served here on Carnation by Royal Doulton, 1982 – 1998

Prune Sauce

I had some of the prune sauce left over  and I had decided to cook some duck breasts.

I thought why not heat up the prune sauce and serve it with the duck, which is what I did – it was delicious  together.

So I thought  “Why not try to create a prune sauce which can be cooked separately for serving with roast or pan fried meats such as pork, duck or game“.

So I did and here is the recipe.

Ingredients

150g prunes – pitted are easiest for this

250ml hot boiling water

250ml chicken stock – can be from cube or concentrate

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of flour

3 tablespoon of honey

50 ml sherry or vermouth

1 bay leaf

Ground black pepper

Method

Place the prunes in a small bowl and pour the hot water over them and leave them to soak for at least an hour.

If using prunes with stones remove these now.

In a saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and heat gently stirring with a wooden spoon to make a roux.

Slowly add the stock and bring this to the boil, stirring constantly so that you do not get any lumps.

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Add the prunes and the liquid they were soaked in, the  bay leaf and ground black pepper.

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Simmer gently until the prunes are soft.

Add the sherry and the honey and simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf.

Use a balloon whisk to blend the sauce together and break up any large pieces of prunes.

 

 

Pour the sauce into a gravy boat or jug and serve hot with your meat.

Note

If possible, depending on how you have cooked the meat , add any meat juices to the sauce, stirring well.

 

 

 

 

Kotlety

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

Kotlety are made from pork loin or pork chops and the meat is beaten thin, dipped in beaten egg, coated in dried breadcrumbs and quickly shallow fried in oil

They can also be called bitki – which means something that is beaten or kotlety panierowane – which means coated in breadcrumbs.

 

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Coteletta alla Milanesie is veal coated in breadcrumbs and is thought to be the inspiration for Wiener Schnitzel.

I do not know if the dish arrived in Poland from Italy or Austria however for many this is thought of as a very Polish dish.  I have had this served in every  Polish home I have visited and it is usually on most Polish restaurant menus.

My mother used to make them with either pork chops or pork loin if it was available. Nowadays pork loin is readily available and that is what I use.

Ingredients

Thin slices of pork loin – around 2 pieces per person

Beaten egg – 1 tends to be enough for up to 3 to 4 people

Dried breadcrumbs – home made – look for bułka tarta in a Polish shop

Sunflower oil for frying

 

Method

Trim the fat from the meat.

Use a metal or wooden kitchen mallet – (I find the wooden ones with very spiky heads are a bit too rough.) to  beat the meat slices, turning them over to do both sides.

Have the beaten egg in a shallow dish and dip in a slice or two meat at a time.

Have the breadcrumbs on a large plate and dip the egg coated slices in the breadcrumbs, turning  them over to cover both sides.

I use a cast iron frying pan into which I put some sunflower oil and heat this up to a medium to highish heat.

Quickly fry the kotlety, first on one side and then turn them over to do the over side.

You do not want the oil too hot so it burns the breadcrumbs however you do not want the heat too low or the breadcrumbs will soak up too much oil and be very greasy.

I find you can do two at a time (three if they are small pieces).

You can place the cooked ones onto kitchen paper whilst you do the rest and you can also keep them in a low oven till they are all done.

I like the freshly cooked ones the best – I always choose the last ones fried!

I serve these with creamy mashed potato, cooked frozen green peas and a Polish salad     such as the ones made with sauerkraut.

Sometimes I add an English style, home made apple sauce made from the Bramley apples in my garden.