Pork Braised in Sherry with Tomatoes and Chorizo

Whilst everyone was marking the day that Paul McCartney and his famous song actually became 64, on that very same day (18 June 2006) I became precisely one year older than him. 65 being quite a big one – what with bus passes, pensions and the like – I’m delighted to say it was celebrated in quite a big way. With special friends Noreen (of Delia Online fame) and her husband Paul and with my Mum in tow we spent a glorious three days on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca and in the best holiday brochure lingo ‘basked in the sun-drenched, palm-fringed glory of that island’. We ate, drank, slept and were waited on with all the graciousness and charm that is typically Majorcan – with the exception, that is, of one of our waiters Sean a very English Man U supporter (but every bit as charming and gracious as the rest). We dined on the very best Majorcan and Spanish specialities, sharing and tasting everything, sampled some very fine Spanish wines, sipped chilled fino and drank the famous Pedro Ximenez with dessert. A great time was had by all, and by way of sharing our celebrations this week’s recipe is on a Spanish theme. We know summer is a time for cold suppers and salads, but we do need some braised dishes with lots of sauce for all the abundance of summer vegetables that we’re now harvesting. So, no apologies for this wonderful dish which captures all the flavours of a Mediterranean summer. Viva Majorca!

Serves 6

Pork Braised in Sherry with Tomatoes and Chorizo
 2 lb (900 g) piece trimmed shoulder of pork
 8 oz (225 g) chorizo sausage (I used a whole Chorizo Iberico from Waitrose – most important to use a genuine one made in Spain)
 2 tablespoons olive oil
 2 medium onions, thickly sliced
 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
 1 rounded tablespoon plain flour
 1 lb (450 g) ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped (or 1 x 14oz (450 g) tin of chopped tomatoes
 10 fl oz (275 ml) dry sherry (I used manzanilla)
 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
 A few sprigs of fresh thyme
 2 bay leaves
 2 red peppers, de-seeded and cut into thick chunks (approx. 2 x 1½ inches, 5 x 4 cm)
 3 oz (75 g) mixed green and black olives, pitted
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275F, 140C.

You will also need a large, 6 pint (3.5 litre) casserole.


Start off by chopping the trimmed pork into largish cubes, then remove the skin from the chorizo and slice it into thinnish rounds.

Next heat one tablespoon of the oil in the casserole over a high heat and when it’s really hot add a few of the cubes of meat to brown well on all sides.

Remove them to a plate then continue to brown the rest of the meat in small batches, adding a little more oil if required.

Now add the rest of the oil and brown the onions (about 6 minutes or so), before adding the garlic and cooking for another minute.

Next return the meat to the casserole and stir in the flour to soak up the juices, then add the chorizo followed by the tomatoes, sherry and sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle in the thyme and bay leaves then give everything a good stir. Lastly bring the casserole up to a gentle simmer, put the lid on and transfer it to the centre of the oven to cook for 1½ hours.

When the time is up, add the sliced peppers and the olives (left whole), give it all one good stir, cover again then leave it to carry on cooking for another ½ hour or until the peppers are tender.

Serve with new potatoes and, at this time of year, beautiful young broad beans or fresh shelled peas.

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