Hilary’s Blog 08-01-2015

The outside temperature was minus six at 7.30 this morning, making it the coldest night of the winter so far. On the line, the washing was as stiff as armour. But yesterday, 7 January, was a ‘warm’ day in that it was the first Lunch Box at Holy Trinity Church after the Christmas break. I was designated cook (half a dozen of us take it in turns), and having taken advantage of a very good deal on pork at Lidl in December, I was set to cook Pork Normande.
Several of our lunchers asked for the recipe, so rather than sending it out by individual email, I thought I would share it with all of you. I have halved the quantities I used as I cooked for 12 yesterday, so this should feed six.

Pork Normande
750-800 gr lean pork (1 pack of boneless pork chops from Lidl) Olive oil Flour
1 large onion
2-3 Tbs tsipouro (optional)
200 ml cider (about 1 coffee mug)
2-3 large Granny Smith apples
100 ml cooking cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy casserole, heat some olive oil. Peel and slice the onion and fry gently until the onions are soft and light golden.
Remove from the heat.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Spread some flour on a plate and press each side of the chops into it, shaking off excess. Fry in batches in the oil until lightly browned on both sides. As they cook, transfer to the onion pan.
When the chops are all browned and in with the onions, turn up the heat until the juices begin to bubble.
This stage is optional: Meanwhile, heat the tsipouro in a small pan, or ideally a briki (Greek coffee pot). When warmed, set it alight with a taper and quickly pour into the casserole. Shake the casserole to distribute the liquid amongst the chops. It will flame until all the alcohol is gone, burning away most of the fat. Safety warning: Before you attempt this, make sure that all flammable material (plastic bags, teacloths etc) are well away from the stove top. Tie back long hair and turn off the extractor fan.
Now pour in the cider; it should come up nearly level with the chops.
Add a little water if needed. Season well with salt and lots of black pepper, place the lid on the pot, and turn down the heat to a simmer.
Cook for about 30 minutes.
Peel and core the apples and cut into sections, about each one about eight. When the pork has been cooking for 30 minutes, add the apple sections, replace the lid and continue cooking for another 20-30 minutes until the apple is tender but not mushy. Don’t worry if some sections break up a bit.
When all is ready, remove the pan from the heat and allow the simmering to stop. Add the cream and shake the pan with a rotational movement so that it melts into the sauce, which should be fairly copious. Taste for seasoning – it may need additional salt depending on how sweet the cider was.
Serve immediately on top of potato puree, the potatoes mashed well with a good dollop of butter and a small cup of full-fat milk. A plain green salad and/or glazed carrots make good accompaniments. Use apple vinegar in the salad dressing to harmonise with the flavours of the pork dish.
For pudding, avoid anything with apples or pears, and creamy desserts.
Something with chocolate, orange or nuts would suit.

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