I have a busy life and work quite long hours and at this time of year always seem tired and grumpy from the lack of light, it’s not properly light when I leave home and it’s dark when I leave the office and going outside of a lunchtime is a rarity. When I get home I want my supper straight away and there is little time to cook the gutsy casseroles that I enjoy when it is dark and cold outside. Last winter I bought a slowcooker (the cheapest in Argos for £9.99) – and it is proving invaluable as I can leave it on all day when I am at work, the food will not burn or dry out if I am late back (the vagaries of London Underground) and it uses the same amount of electricity of a lightbulb, cheap tough cuts of meat are transformed to mouth melting tenderness. Its one pot cooking at its best. There are a few differences between slowcooker or crockpot cooking and the conventional method casseroling in the oven; mainly to do with adding the right amount of liquid as slow cooked food will only reduce a little. Like a casserole it is not as simple as just chucking all the raw ingredients in and hoping for the best, but with a little preparation the night before a delicious meal will be waiting for you after a day at work; or at this time of year, Christmas shopping.
This dish came about from vague memories of a spicy, porky dish flavoured with orange and Worcestershire sauce from years ago, triggered by seeing some pork reduced in the supermarket and knowing that I had some peppers sitting in the fridge that needed eating. I am sure that the original was called Spanish Pork – I am not sure why as there is not that much Spanish about Worcestershire sauce, maybe it specified Seville Oranges? It looks like there are lots of ingredients here – but just use what is available and what you like.
Spanish Pork – (serves 6)
2lb Stewing Pork – cut to 1″ cubes
3 rashers bacon roughly chopped – or you could use chorizo
3 mixed peppers – sliced (I used 2 red and 1 green)
½ head celery – roughly chopped (including the base as it is packed with flavour)
2 onions – sliced
1 pt chicken stock (or marigold bouillon)
2 tsp paprika (to taste)
Chilli pepper to taste
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Zest of one large orange
Salt and Pepper
Parsley to garnish.
Fry the pork and bacon until lightly browned and place in the slow cooker dish or casserole dish, fry off the vegetables in olive oil until they are soft and turning golden, add to the pork. Deglaze the pan with the stock and add to the casserole dish so the meat and vegetables are just covered.
Add the paprika, chilli pepper and Worcestershire sauce and stir.
If you are preparing ahead you put the casserole in the fridge for up to 24 hours before casseroling or slowcooking – I put it into the slow cooker from chilled on high for an hour and then turn down.
Cook in a slow oven for up to 3 hours or in the slow cooker all day. Half and hour before serving stir in the orange zest. If need be thicken the casserole with a little corn flour – to do this put 2 teaspoons of corn flour into a small bowl (I use an espresso cup), add the sauce from the casserole to the cornflour and stir to make a thin paste. Add this paste into the casserole and stir. By adding the sauce to the flour and mixing; rather than the other way round you will not get any lumps.
Serve the casserole with green vegetables, mashed potatoes or beans or crusty bread.
This freezes well, I freeze in plastic trays with bean mash for work lunches.
First published December 2007. Updated January 2018.