Jugged Celery

This is a very old Devonshire dish, which used to be served with roast venison or hare. It is also excellent with roast lamb or duck. The flavour of the celery and apple and the tenderness of the celery are outstanding.

You will need a straight-sided earthenware crock, holding about 5 cups (1.2 litres) and measuring 4 or 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) in diameter. The celery is not so good when cooked horizontally.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb (1 kg) cooking apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 slices of back bacon, 1 kept whole and the other finely chopped
  • 2 heads of celery, washed and trimmed, with some of the strings removed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Method

Stew the apples with the sugar and 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan for 20 minutes or until they make a soft pulp, stirring from time to time.

Put the whole slice of bacon in the bottom of the crock, and pour in the apple. Push the sticks of celery into it so that they stand upright, close-packed and with the apple coming almost to the top.

Sprinkle in the onion, cloves, rosemary, pepper and salt. Cut the tops of the celery sticks even with the top of the crock. Press these short bits among the celery sticks and sprinkle the top with the chopped bacon bits. Stand the crock in a saucepan with boiling water coming halfway up the sides. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 2 hours, replenishing the water from time to time.

Pour the contents of the crock into a bowl and serve.

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