The exceptional flavors that are found in this Elizabethan era pork dish are truly evocative of The Golden Age. Indeed delicious and worthy of its heritage.

A Dish of Elizabethan Pork
Recipe type: Pork
Serves: 16
  • 4 pounds pork leg
  • 1 celery head; sliced, or
  • 1 fennel head; sliced
  • 2 medium onions; sliced
  • 8 ounces apricots; fresh/tinned
  • 4 ounces raisins; stoneless
  • 1 lemon; zest and juice
  • 1 orange; zest and juice
  • 2 apples; Cox's Best
  • 4 ounces dates; stoned
  • 1 Tablespoon clover honey
  • 1 ounce flour
  • 4 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1 large sprig thyme
  • 1 large sprig marjoram
  • 1 large sprig rosemary
  • 1 large sprig sage, or
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried herbs
  • 3 cloves garlic; crushed
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mace
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper; ground
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  1. Trim the pork off the bone and discard excess fat, leaving a little. Cut into 1" cubes.
  2. Heat the oil until it is smoking, and fry the pork lightly, a little at a time, removing each batch to a side plate as it is done.
  3. Fry the sliced onions in the fat remaining in the pan.
  4. Return the pork to the pan and sprinkle with the flour, stirring it in well. Add all the herbs and spices - you may tie fresh herbs in a bundle if you want, or put dried herbs into muslin. (Not essential at all).
  5. Shred the celery or fennel as finely as possible and add to the pan. Add the split and stoned apricots and dates and the peeled, cored and sliced apples together with the citrus zests and segments (remove bitter white pith before segmenting, and removing pips). Add the raisins, the garlic, salt and curry powder.
  6. Transfer to a large ovenproof casserole (Dutch oven) if the frying wasn't done in one, and pour over the wine. Bring to the boil, and boil 5 minutes to eliminate alcohol.
  7. Cook in a low (Mk 2 275 F degrees) oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the pork is thoroughly tender.
  8. Remove the herbs and serve - plain boiled rice goes very well with this dish which predates the use in Europe of potatoes.
Recipe adapted from "Fine English Cookery" by Michael Smith.

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