If you ask Gregory, the farmer and youngest Gladwin Brother, why his pork tastes so much better than the equivalent meat from a supermarket, you had better have some time to listen. He will wax lyrical on the subject.
Our farm pigs are traditional heritage breeds – Oxford Sandy and Black. The piglets are born in a hay barn and then live outside in acres of land foraging as they please. Their meadows are sown with turnips, mustard seed and Rape, and overhung with oak trees so acorns form part of their natural diet. Gregory supplements this with wasted vegetables from horticulture neighbours and some nutrition pellets but they also take 8 months to slowly fatten rather than the 4 months for commercial pork. Hand reared free range pigs simply live a better life and the result is meat that is sweet, succulent and much more flavoursome.
A Cassoulet is a traditional Southern French single pot bean stew. It is a great vehicle for good quality pork and can be adapted to incorporate ingredients of the season. Here we are using lots of different items grown in the vegetable garden but there is no need to be restrictive. A combination of tinned beans, onions, garlic, peppers, white wine and herbs are all you need to bring out the flavour in the pork.
Ingredients for 6 to 8 people
2 table spoons Rapeseed oil
300gm Pork Chops
300gm Spiced Pork Sausages
2 x Red Onion- roughly chopped
1 bunch Celery- cut into small pieces
2 cloves of Garlic- Crushed
1 tin Butter Beans- drained
1 tin Red kidney beans drained
225gm French Beans- topped, tailed and cut into 3cm pieces
225gm Courgette- cut into half rounds
1 Red Pepper- cored and cut into pieces
1 400gm tin chopped Tomatoes
500ml Chicken Stock (made from a cube)
250ml White Wine
½ Tspoon Ground Nutmeg
½ Tspoon Ground cloves
4 Bay leaves
8 Sage Leaves
large branch Rosemary
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
3 Tablespoons Bread Crumbs
- Heat the oil in a large heavy based casserole dish over a moderate heat
- Sear the Pork chops and fry the sausages to a good colour. Then remove from the pan and cut into pieces
- Fry the onion, celery and garlic until soft.
- Now add the drained beans andfresh vegetables. Pour over the chopped tomatoes, chicken stock and white wine. Stir in the spices, Bay, Sage and Rosemary. Add back the fried meat and sausage, season well with salt and pepper.
- Bring the whole mixture up to simmer stiring occasionally. Then place a lid on the Casserole (Tin Foil would do) and transfer to a preheated oven- 170c or gas mark 4.
- Leave to braise in the oven for 2 hours
- ½ an hour before serving, remove the lid, stir the Cassoulet and sprinkle bread crumbs over the top. Return to the oven for 20 – 30 minutes
- Finish with a springle of parsley
This is a whole meal in one dish, if you want a side it should just be a crisp green salad.