This pork and cider casserole recipe post is brought to you in association with Thorner’s Farm Shop.
I don’t know about you but it feels to me like the further we get into this pandemic, the more my life revolves around food.
I’ve always been the sort of person who thinks about what they’re going to have for lunch while they’re eating breakfast, but when food shopping is pretty much the only sort of shopping you can do, and the days and weeks stretch ahead for miles, snacks become EVERYTHING.
Not that I’m complaining. I love eating, and not being able to eat out and get my brunch fix has meant I’ve spent more time trying new recipes and eating delicious things at home. Like last weekend for instance when I had a delivery from Thorner’s Farm Shop in Shepton Mallet and cooked a feast of slow cooker pork and cider casserole and pineapple cake with Malibu frosting. (You heard me.)
I’ve been a fan of Thorner’s since I discovered their award-winning pies recently, and I’ve had my love for them reinforced by the fact that the adorable deli that I walk to across the fields – Gaia Garden – has become a stockist.
Lovely walk through the countryside? Delightful! Pie to take home for dinner? Don’t mind if I do.
Thorner’s stock all kinds of things besides pies though, including an ever-expanding range of local meats. I wanted to showcase the variety of their online farm shop through this post, so in my weekend feast I used a fruit and a vegetable box, local cider, outdoor reared diced pork, local butter and eggs. I also had a very lovely Somerset wine – the Aldwick Estate Buteo – but I have to confess that this was so good that I drank it all before remembering to take a photo. Do go and check it out though. I recommend.
I was particularly impressed with the veg and fruit boxes. My fruit box for example included apples, satsumas, pears, bananas, a lemon and a lime, blueberries, grapes and a whole pineapple. (Hence the pineapple cake.) I think this is really good value for £9.99.
Pork and cider slow cooker casserole
Because Thorner’s is based in Somerset, like me, I wanted to make something suitably wholesome, but with a local vibe. Well it doesn’t get more Somerset than cider does it? Add in some outdoor reared Somerset pork, local vegetables… it’s wholesomeness in a casserole dish.
I’m a bit of a ‘bung it all in’ kind of chef, so this is a bit of a guestimate of what I used, but the beauty of a casserole really is that you can shove anything in and it’s always hearty and delicious. I think pretty much everything on this list, bar a couple of the store cupboard things like the wholegrain mustard and the cornflour, you can get from the Thorner’s online farm shop.
- One 450g packet of diced pork
- Splash of oil
- Large teaspoonful of cornflour
- Handful of baby potatoes, halved
- Two carrots, peeled and chunked
- Two onions, diced
- A few celery sticks
- Two apples
- Tablespoon of wholegrain mustard
- A few tablespoons of creme fraiche
- Around 200ml of Harry’s original cider
My Thorner’s veg box also contained sweet potatoes and butternut squash – either of these would work well in a casserole.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and fry the pork on high to seal. Add the cornflour to coat the pork and then transfer it to a large bowl. Add a splash more oil and gently fry all the vegetables. While they’re softening, mix together the wholegrain mustard, creme fraiche and cider, and peel, core and chunk the apples.
After the vegetables have had about five minutes, transfer into the bowl with the pork and add the liquid and apples. Give everything a good stir and pour it into a preheated slow cooker. Cook on high for about four hours or low for six-eight hours.
Pineapple cake with Malibu frosting
While your pork and cider casserole is in the slow cooker you have a couple of options. You could create some kind of elaborate dessert involving homemade pastry and intricate sugarcraft flowers that takes up your whole afternoon, or you could bash out a very simple yet delicious pineapple cake and spend the rest of the time catching up on Married at First Sight Australia.
I know which I’d rather do and it does not involve sugarcraft.
I chopped up about half of the pineapple from my Thorner’s fruit box and used it to line the bottom of a tray bake sized tin, which I’d previously lined with baking paper. Then I made a very simple sponge with 100g each of butter, sugar and flour, two eggs, a teaspoon of baking powder and a splash of vanilla essence, and spooned the whole lot over the pineapple. In the oven at 180 for about 25 minutes or until the sponge is springy to the touch and Bob’s your uncle.
While the cake cools, mix some softened butter, icing sugar and a couple of tablespoons of Malibu in a bowl until you have a lovely soft butter icing. I’m not going to be too prescriptive on the quantity here because we’re a year into a pandemic and who am I to judge how thickly you want to spread your butter icing? If you make too much then you can always just eat it off the spoon, it’s hardly the end of the world.
Spread it over your cake, decorate with some extra pineapple chunks and there you have it.
Win £50 to spend at Thorner’s Farm shop
If you’d like to recreate this wholesome feast, then read on! Thorner’s are offering one lucky winner the chance to win £50 to spend in their online farm shop, with delivery nationwide. For £50 you’ll be able to get a fruit and a vegetable box, the pork, wine and the extras, or spend it all on Thorner’s pies if you like – remember we’re not judging.
To enter, simply tick off as many entry mechanisms as you can in the widget below. The competition will close at 11.59pm on March 15th and the competition is open to UK entries only. Full T&Cs apply.
I love the sound of Malibu frosting on a cake