Prep 15 mins
Cook 2 hrs 15 mins
In country households until the turn of the nineteenth century or even later, the pig was 'the gentleman that pays the rent' and was a very prized possession. He met his end in the autumn when the main part of the pork would have been pickled or turned into hams to see the family through the winter, but a few dishes for fresh pork survive and this is one of them.
- 6 slices sparerib pork chops
- 4 sharp cooking apples
- 3 onions
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- bay leaf
- 6 fluid ounces dry still cider (in Ireland, this would be hard alcoholic cider)
- Tie parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a bunch.
- Cut the outside fat and rind from the sparerib chops and cut them into thin strips (reserve the fat).
- Peel, core and slice the apples thinly and cut the onions into thin slices.
- Season the chops with salt and pepper.
- Butter a wide casserole dish, put in a layer of apple slices, sprinkle them with half the sugar and spread half the onions over the top.
- Season with salt and pepper and place the chops on top.
- Place the bunch of herbs in the centre.
- Cover with more onions, more apples and the remaining sugar.
- Place the pieces of reserved pork fat criss-crossed in a lattice over the top, pour in the cider, cover the pot and bake at 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas Mark 4 for for 1 hour.
- Lower the heat to 150°C/ 300°F/ Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further hour.
- Skim off the excess fat from the top and turn up the heat to 220°C/ 425°F/ Gas Mark 7 to crisp the crackling and lightly brown the apples to a pale gold colour.
This recipe was delightful! Very old world tasting, my husband refused to believe that apples and onion went together but this proved him wrong.