My mother always marinates her roastbeef in several alcoholic beverages for one day and everyone loves her recipe. I find that marinating meat for 2 or 3 days and long simmering it always makes a very tender and flavourful meat. This pork recipe is marinated for 2 days in hard apple cider and spices and then slowly cooked for 2 hours. The sauce, which I like to serve on the side, thickens and the meat becomes extremely tender. I serve it with roasted apples which emphasize the taste of the hard apple cider. It's a great do ahead dish - just warm it up while you roast the apples. You can serve it with a green salad or roast potatoes. —Maria Teresa Jorge
Marinated pork with prunes
1 1/2 pounds
dry prunes without the stone
hard apple cider for marinade and cooking
hard apple cider for deglazing
shallots peeled and cut in half
garlic cloves, peeled, green inside part removed and crushed
fresh lemon thyme
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
butter or lard
freshly grated nutmeg
In This Recipe
Insert the handle of a wooden spoon on both ends of the meet and make several deep holes in the pork. Widen the holes a bit more with your finger and stuff with prunes pushing them inside so you have prunes both in the middle and in the end part of the meat.
Season the pork well with salt.
Put the cloves, juniper berries, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, all the peppercorns in a mortar and crush them to medium size.
In a large glass or ceramic bowl put the pork, add the crushed spices, add the halved shallots, the garlic, bay leaves, thyme and cinnamon stick. Add the hard apple cider, a little more salt, cover with plastic film and marinate for 48 hours. Turn the meat over every 12 hours.
Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with paper kitchen towel.
Strain the marinade, keeping the solids in a bowl and putting the liquid in a pan over low heat to warm up. Discard the cinnamon stick.
In a pan with a tight ftting lid that can hold the whole piece of meat, add the olive oil and the butter or lard. Put over medium heat and let warm up. Add the meat and seal on all sides until golden brown. Deglaze with 1/3 cup of hard apple cider, stir to remove any bits of meat that may be stuck to the pan and let simmer for 2 minutes.
Add all the solids (shallots, garlic, bay leaf and spices) and 1/2 cup of hot marinade liquid to the pan. bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, stir and cover. Let cook for 20 minutes, turn the meat over, add another 1/2 cup of hot marinade liquid, stir and cover for another 20 minutes. Turn the meat over again and add another 1/2 cup of hot marinade liquid, cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Turn the meat over again, add the remaining hot marinade and cook over very low heat for 1 hour uncovered. The sauce will reduce and thicken. Keep turning the meat and stiring every 20 minutes.Check the seasoning of the sauce for salt. Turn off the heat, put the lid back on and let rest for 1 hour.
At this point you can cool completely and keep for 2 or 3 days in the fridge or freeze.
For the roasted apples: Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF with rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash the apples, cut them in half and peel them. Carefully take the end parts and remove the core without braking the halves. Put the apples cut side down and slice them.
With the help of a spatula, put the sliced halfed apples on the baking sheet. Slightly press the apple halves with the palm of your hand so the slices are at an angle. Add a teaspoon of butter and 1/2 a teaspoon of brown sugar on each half apple. Sprinkle with freshly ground nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon.
Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Warm up the meat, remove from the sauce and wrap in aluminium foil and keep warm. If the sauce is still liquid simmer it to reduce further - it should be quite thick.
Slice the meat and serve on a warm serving plate with the baked apples. Serve the sauce on a sauce boat.