Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Polish beer braised pork & cabbage hotpot with Silesian potato dumplings

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Polish beer braised pork & cabbage hotpot with Silesian potato dumplings
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preparing the Silesian potato dumplings

My recipe for Polish beer braised pork and cabbage hotpot is flavoured with tastes of my Babcia's kitchen; caraway, bay leaves and juniper berries. Inspired by the slow cooked braised meat stews and casseroles she would often have bubbling away on her stove top. 

I top the hotpot with Silesian potato dumplings, which are like a Polish gnocchi. Light and fluffy mashed potato mixed with cornflour or potato flour, a beaten egg and a little grating of nutmeg. They are often boiled and served topped with buttered breadcrumbs, caramelised onion or fried bacon. They work really well as a topping for stews and hotpots, and would make an interesting alternative topping for a shepherds or cottage pie too.

A perfect recipe for winter time, and enjoying when it's cold and frosty outside. 

serves 6-8

cooking time: 3-5 hours*

ingredients:
1kg stewing pork (I used boneless pork shoulder)
500g cabbage
450g carrots
250g leeks
2 large cloves garlic 
500ml chicken/vegetable stock
500ml beer (a dark, full flavoured beer works well)
4 bay leaves
2 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp juniper berries
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 handful chopped parsley
salt & pepper 

Silesian potato dumplings (makes about 16)
600g floury potatoes
3 tbsp cornflour or potato flour
1 egg
pinch of salt and pepper
grating of nutmeg

for the topping:
50g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tsp butter

method:

preheat the oven to 160C/gas 3

cut the leeks and carrots into large chunks and fry in a large lidded casserole dish/oven proof dish, with the bay, caraway and crushed juniper berries, until starting to brown and caramelise.

add the pork shoulder (cut into large chunks), crushed garlic, salt & pepper and continue to fry for a few minutes.

pour in the stock and beer to deglaze the pan and bring up to the boil, add the cabbage cut into rough slices, then cover and put in the oven on a low heat for about 3-5 hours (or until the pork is completely cooked through and tender).

while the pork is cooking prepare the Silesian potato dumplings. Peel, chop and boil the potatoes until cooked. Drain well, mash and season with salt, pepper and a grating or 2 of nutmeg. Leave to cool completely before mixing in the egg and cornflour/potato flour.

shape the mashed potato mix into rounded dumplings (I use an ice cream scoop), and then press a hole in the middle of the dumplings with your thumb. Refrigerate until ready to use.

to prepare the breadcrumb topping - fry them in butter until lightly golden brown.

when the pork is cooked, stir in the chopped parsley and top the hotpot with the dumplings and fried breadcrumbs. Turn up the oven to 200C/gas 6 and return the hotpot for 20-30 minutes with the lid off for the dumplings to cook and go lightly golden. Garnish with extra parsley and dish up. 

I like to serve this with sliced rye bread and butter to mop up the juices and a Polish beer. Smacznego! 

cooks hints and tips:

*It's difficult to be exact with the cooking time as different cuts of stewing pork can take less or more time than stated. It's done when completely cooked through and tender. You should be able to break up the cooked pork with a spoon. 

As with most stews and hotpots they are usually better served the day after cooking when the flavours have had a chance to mix and mingle. 



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