It's cold outside

November, it’s dark and cold and the best thing about it is eating hearty food and sitting in front of a log fire, reading a good book or watching a great movie. So, this month I have decided to share a recipe I found for a delicious slow cooked pork hotpot, it’s a little bit of work, but I think its worth it. You can also do the first half a day ahead if you wish. Served simply with some crusty bread and garden peas for ease. Yum!

Slow cooked Pork, cider & sage hotpot

4 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra

1kg diced pork shoulder

20g butter, cubed, plus a little extra

4 leeks, trimmed and thickly sliced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tbsp plain flour

500ml dry cider

400ml chicken stock

2 bay leaves

½ small bunch parsley, finely chopped

small bunch sage, leaves picked, 5 left whole, the rest chopped

200ml single cream

400g Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes

400g sweet potatoes

Heat half of the oil in a deep ovenproof frying pan, or flameproof casserole dish, and fry the pork pieces over a medium high heat in batches until seared all over, then transfer to a plate. Add another 1 tbsp oil to the pan, if you need to, while you’re cooking the batches. Once all the pork is seared, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add another 1 tbsp oil to the pan with a little butter and fry half the leeks with a pinch of salt for 10 mins until tender. Add the garlic, fry for a minute, then stir in the flour.

Pour in the cider, a little at a time, stirring to pick up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan and to combine everything. Add the stock, bay leaves and seared pork, then simmer, half-covered with a lid for 1-1½ hrs until the meat is just tender (it will later cook to the point of falling apart in the oven). Can be prepared a day ahead.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Simmer uncovered for a few minutes to reduce the sauce, if you need to – it shouldn’t be too liquid or the potatoes will sink into the sauce. Stir in the parsley, chopped sage, remaining leeks, and the cream, then season well.

Peel both types of potatoes and cut into slices 2mm thick, by hand or using a mandolin. Alternate layers of potato and sweet potato in circles over the pie, or randomly, if you prefer. Dot the cubed butter over the top and bake for 1-1½ hrs until the potato is tender. Nestle in the whole sage leaves, brushed in a little oil, for the last 10 mins. Leave to rest for 10 mins before serving.

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