Delia Smith's Winter Collection
FEBRUARY 01 2012


You know, Delia, I understand that browning meat before braising or stewing gives the whole dish tons more flavor. But it's such a hassle! Are you really gonna make me do it for every slow-cooked dish (of which there are many)?? It can add a whole hour to the meal prep, which means we don't even eat until after 8pm sometimes. Like last night. When I had to brown the pork a cubes "a few at a time" (aaarrrgghh!) and then brown the shallots "on all sides to a nice glossy caramel colour". All this work did result in some lovely fond on the bottom of the pot. And, as we all know, fond = flavor! So fine, I forgive you.

hello, shallot... lookin' glossy!

fond = flavor!

In the meantime, I was multi-tasking and working over those swedes (nee rutabaga). After peeling and wedging they are par-boiled then tossed with a mix of flour and Parmesan. My plan is to stick them in the oven for the last 20 minutes of the pork's cooking time and finish them off while I'm reducing the braising liquid. Good plan, huh? Too bad I got sucked into Homeland, missed the ding of the timer and therefore made dinner even later by screwing up the timing. But at this point, I'm still blissfully unaware of my future blunder.

tossing the swedes

Mmmm... the braising pork smells amazing. Meaty with an apple and vinegar tang. Is it done yet?!? Yes it is! But the swedes have only just gone into the oven and they still need to bake 35 minutes until crisp on both sides. I guess I'll just watch more Homeland :)

Finally, time for the last step. Just reduce the braising liquid by half and whisk in a scoop of crème fraîche to make a lovely, velvety sauce. I was wondering why Delia loves crème fraîche so much... it's in practically every recipe. It turns out it is perfect for sauces because it doesn't curdle and it's not as sour as sour cream so works in sweet and savory dishes. I think I love crème fraîche!! Too bad it's so damn expensive.

Anyway, time to eat! The swedes are good with a nice crunchy crust. But I'm not sure it's really worth all the effort. I would rather just roast them then sprinkle with Parmesan to serve. The pork is lovely. I really enjoy the tang of the cider vinegar and it does pair quite well with the earthy swedes. Overall a yummy meal!

parmesan crusted swedes with cider vinegar braised pork. yum!


Serves 4

2 lb pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pint medium sweet cider
5 fl oz cider vinegar
½ oz butter
2 tablespoons peanut or other flavourless oil
12 shallots, peeled
4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1½ level tablespoons crème fraîche
Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.

First, place the casserole over a fairly high heat and add half the butter and 1 tablespoon of oil. Meanwhile, dry the pieces of meat with kitchen paper then brown them a few at a time in the hot fat, transferring them to a plate as they brown.

After that, add the rest of the butter and oil and, when that's very hot, add the shallots to the pan and carefully brown these on all sides to a nice glossy caramel colour. Now pour the cider and cider vinegar into the pan, stir well, scraping the base and sides of the pan, then return the meat, add the thyme and the bay leaves and season well.

As soon as it's all come to simmering point, transfer the casserole, without a lid, to the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is reduced and the meat is tender. Now remove the meat and shallots to a warm serving dish, discarding the herbs, then place the casserole back over direct heat.

Bring it up to the boil and reduce the liquid to about half its original volume. Finally, whisk in the crème fraîche, taste to check the seasoning, then pour the sauce over the meat and serve. 


Serves 4- 6

1-1/2 lb swede/rutabaga, peeled and cut into large wedges approximately 2 inches long
4 oz plain flour
1-1/2 oz Parmesan, freshly grated
Peanut oil
A knob of butter
Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.

Begin by combining the flour, Parmesan and a seasoning of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Now pop the swede into a saucepan, cover with boiling water, add some salt, bring back to boiling point then cover and simmer for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile have a kitchen tray ready, then drain the swede and while it is still steaming drop the wedges, using kitchen tongs, a few at a time, into the bowl to coat them with the flour and cheese. Do this quickly as the coating will only stick if they're still steamy.

Then lay them out on the tray to cool, and refrigerate until you are ready to cook. For this you need to place the baking tray in the oven while it's pre-heating, putting enough oil on the tray to cover the base and adding a knob of butter for flavour.

Then when the oven is up to heat remove the baking tray, place it over direct heat turned to low and arrange the prepared swede wedges on it side by side.

Baste the tops with the hot fat then transfer them to the oven, using an oven glove, to bake for 20 minutes. After that, turn them over, remove any excess fat from the tin and continue to bake them for a further 15-20 minutes or until they're crisp and golden.

These recipes are taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection.

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