Autumn ‘Pig and Beer’

March 30, 2011

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With autumn settling in, the stockings and jackets are coming out and so is my cast iron pot. Once again, brawn meets beer for another hearty and soulful tryst and I couldn’t be happier. I love my one pot cooking. For my family, it’s easy and effortless and it never fails to fill our stomachs for days.

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This is another deep and flavoursome concoction; a chicken stock based stew that is permeated by the flavour of pork, beefed up with potatoes and fragranced with pale ale. Crusty bread is an essential here but it is equally heavenly with a side of braised cabbage, particularlythis onewhich, as I’ve already shouted from the rooftops, is the best cabbage dish I’ve ever tasted.

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I must’ve cooked every type of meat in every type of grog under the sun but the ‘Pig and Beer’ is one of our favourites. The comfort level is high but it’s not overly rich and heavy. And despite the increasingly cool weather outside, this autumn beauty goes down very well with a few cold pints.

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Autumn ‘Pig and Beer’ Stew


2kg of pork leg chops, excess fat and rind removed
2 brown onions, chopped into small pieces
6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
3 rashers of middle bacon, sliced thinly
800ml of pale ale
800ml chicken stock (low-sodium)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbl of worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
6 large waxy potatoes, peeled and chopped
Handful of chopped fresh parsley to serve (optional)


In a large pot over high heat, melt a knob of butter with a dash of oil and brown pork chops on both sides until golden. Remove and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the onions, garlic and bacon and sauté for 5 minutes until veges have softened and bacon is golden.

Add the pork back into the pot and pour in the beer and stock. Bring to a boil.

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Reduce heat to low, stir in the herbs, worcestershire sauce, paprika and simmer gently for 2.5 hours until pork is pull-apart tender and the stock is reduced and flavoursome (the thick leg chops will need a bit of time to really tenderise).

Add the potatoes for the last 45 minutes to cook until tender (as in after 1hr 45 mins). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

If you wish, use a bit of cornflour (mixed in a little cold water to form a paste) to thicken the stew to your preference.

Serve with a scattering of chopped fresh parsley and crusty bread (and beer!).

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