Pork with Prunes, Juniper Berries and Pernod

Pork can be a dull and dry meat, but not so in this simply made casserole, which has a lovely fusion of flavours. Serve with potatoes or egg tagliatelle and a green vegetable, such as spring greens. Pernod, with its taste of aniseed, makes this much more than an ordinary casserole.

Ingredients

  • 675-900 g/1½-2 lb boneless pork
  • 100 g/4 oz pitted prunes
  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground mace
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries, roughly crushed
  • 400 g/14 oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 150 ml/¼ pint Pernod
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Slice the pork into largish pieces. Chop the prunes up fairly small. Melt the butter and olive oil in a flameproof casserole over a medium heat, then add the ground mace and stir for a minute. Next, stir in the pork, juniper berries and prunes. Add the chopped tomatoes, Pernod, orange juice and bay leaves. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper, bring to bubbling, then cover the casserole, put it in the oven and cook for 1¾-2 hours, until the meat is very tender.

Trim the spring onions and cut across at 5mm/¼in intervals, using as much of the green part as possible. Before serving, check the casserole juices for seasoning, then stir in the chopped spring onions.

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