This one is from UK magazine Delicious, and let’s just call a duck a duck. This is a stew, not a casserole. But it’s an incredible stew that screams fall at the top of its lungs. This is the fall stew equivalent of Julie Andrews singing on a hilltop. And the leftovers were just as tasty. Also, this is fairly low carb. Really the cider is the only carb-tipping element, and it’s fall. You can live a little.
The measurements are all metric, but I improvised some US measurements below.
3 tbsp sunflower oil
200g British free-range smoked bacon lardons (I used 5 slices because I can’t stop snacking on it while I cook)
1.2kg well-trimmed, free-range pork shoulder, cut into 5cm pieces (about 2.5 pounds)
400g small shallots, peeled (I just used 2 medium shallots)
55g butter, softened (that’s about 2 ounces, 1/2 stick)
1 medium onion, chopped
450ml dry cider, plus an extra splash
450ml fresh chicken stock (16 ounces)
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
3 large celery sticks, cut into chunky slices
30g plain flour (2 Tbsp)
2 tbsp wholegrain dijon mustard
4 tbsp crème fraîche (I did NOT substitute sour cream like I usually do, but you can)
Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Put a large, flameproof casserole over a medium-high heat, add 1½ tablespoons of the oil, then the bacon lardons, and fry slowly until crisp and brown.
Lift onto a plate using a slotted spoon. Heat the rest of the oil in the casserole and brown the pork in 2 batches, setting it aside with the bacon when ready.
Put the shallots in the pan and fry until golden all over. Set aside with the pork and bacon. Put half the butter and the chopped onion in the pan, cover and cook for 10 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Return the pork and bacon to the pan, pour over the cider and stock, stir in the sage and bring to the boil, stirring now and then.
Cover with foil and the lid, then transfer to the oven to cook for 1½hours.
Stir the celery and shallots into the casserole, re-cover and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes, by which time the meat and vegetables should be tender.
Put the casserole on the stove, uncover it and bring to a simmer. Mix the remaining butter with the flour to make a smooth paste (known as a beurre manié, fancy). Stir in some paste and let it simmer and thicken, adding a little more if need be, until the casserole liquid has a good sauce consistency. (You might not need to use all the paste.) Stir in the mustard and crème fraîche, then simmer for 1-2 minutes more. Add an extra splash of cider just before serving.