16 November 2010

Oven Braised Pork and Winter Vegetables

The weather here has been very wintery—it's put the BRR in NovemBRR! Rain, cold, fog. Perfect weather to hunker down and stay home with something warm and hearty for dinner. Me, I also want something easy. Something that I can stick in the oven and not think about. This is the perfect thing! 

I used pork for this, but of course you could use any meat you like. I think it shouldn't be a 'noble' cut, though. This long, slow cooking isn't meant for the steaks and the filets. They would be wasted here, and I think they'd probably be pretty tasteless as well. No, this is for the tougher cuts of meat, the ones that are cheaper too (win-win!). This would work well with beef or venison or boar or rabbit or even hogget or mutton if you like the flavor. The cut of pork I used is called 'spirling'. I don't know what it would be called in English, but it is tougher than a pork chop and has more fat running through it. 

The vegetables are bang in season right now—carrots, celery root, celery, onions. The zucchini / courgette is at the end of its season, but still good. These can be replaced by whatever vegetables you have on hand. Potatoes would be very much at home here, as would turnips and parsnips and pumpkin and squash. 

I used a little Marmite in this. I had never used it before, and I'm trying to figure it out. It's a yeast-based dark sludge that comes from England, where some people apparently spread it on toast. Then they eat it. Hmmm... apparently, you either love Marmite or you hate it. I'm not sure that I'd spread it on toast that I intended to eat, but I can tell you that it adds a wonderful depth of flavor to sauces. 

This turned out better than I expected. The meat was falling off the bone and full of flavor. The vegetables were perfectly cooked, each retaining its own flavor and personality. The braising liquid was rich and luscious enough to serve as a sauce all by itself. What was left after we finished the meat and the vegetables served as the basis of a lovely sauce the next day. 

What about you? What kind of comfort food are you making now? 

Oven Braised Pork and Winter Vegetables

2 onions
4 garlic cloves
hot pepper oil (or regular olive oil)
2 big carrots
¼ celery root
1 small zucchini
3 stalks celery
4 spirling of pork (or pork chops)
½ teaspoon Marmite (optional)
3-4 bay leaves
salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 160 C / 325 F
  • Chop the onions and saute them with the garlic in the hot pepper oil until they're golden and caramelized.
  • Chop the vegetables into pieces approximately the same size.
  • Put a little more oil in a hot pan, salt and pepper the meat and sear it on both sides.
  • In a deep baking dish, put the seared meat in one layer. Put the chopped vegetables on top, and tuck the bay leaves around it all. 
  • Pour hot water over it all—enough to cover the meat. Mix the Marmite with some of the hot water and add to the dish. 
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake for 3 hours. The meat should be falling off the bones and the vegetables should be melting. 

Serves 4 if they like it and 10 if they don't. 

  • You can make hot pepper oil by crushing a handful of dried hot chili peppers, putting them in a pretty bottle and filling the bottle with olive oil. After about a week, the oil will be infused with the heat from the peppers. You don't need your best extra-virgin oil for this. 


La Table De Nana said...

I am appreciative of your Marmite review..I have heard of this also..Oh this looks very cozy Kate~

Carol at Serendipity said...


Looks yummy. We are back in Florida but it cool here so we are doing roasts and stews and soups.

I tried Marmite once.....


The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

This looks like it would be good with pork shoulder.

I've never tried marmite, but I've always sort of thought it would taste like miso--I don't know why!

Rich said...

This is perfect! I have an undeniable and habitual urge to buy any cut of pork when on sale (with the best of intentions), and I've got them piling up in my freezer. Thank you for the inspiration! I bow you your geniusivity.

Linda said...

Yummmmm....this would be a perfect dinner tonight on this rainy, dark, and yucky, night!
Comfort food!

Sophie said...

MMMMM,..;A perfect meal for this cold, cold November weather!!

It is easy to make & looks so festive!

Susan said...

You called it for fall comfort food ... the Marmite reminds me of Kitchen Bouquet ... this dark brown syrup that I think is a carmelized veg base. Anyway, it ttoo, adds a good depth and color to sauces and gravies. Our comfort food of late has been cream-based soups and chunks of bread. Stay toasty, Kate!

PS. Like the new look of Serendipity !

Kate said...

I have never heard of Marmite. I do love pork and this is a perfect cold weather dinner. I am going to look for Marmite.

Stella said...

Yum, Kate! This looks like real Fall deliciousness despite the Marmite (smile). Just kidding. I've never had it-just heard stories...
p.s. your blog is so different. I feel so out of it and uninformed;-)

WizzyTheStick said...

Always wondered what Marmite was good for.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I have to admit I had not heard of Marmite before! There is nothing like slow-roasted meat stews in the cold weather. The problem is, I tend to gain about 5 pounds every fall from all of the comfort food ;) Then it takes a few months after Christmas to take them off again!

Barbara said...

I really should serve pork more often. This looks fabulous, Kate. I've heard of marmite, but it's been ages...wonder what I used it in?
We're still pretty warm here, but come January, I'll have to make this.

Hungry Dog said...

"Yeast-based dark sludge." Um, maybe not. I like the looks of this dish, though, so perhaps I should give marmite a try.

Haven't visited you in a few weeks and see you have a new look--nice job!

2 Stews said...

Comfort food is the best! I am making a full dinner of comfort food tomorrow....Thanksgiving dinner!! Have a great Thanksgiving and I can't wait to try your pork recipe.

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