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Juniper pork with mushrooms and sage potato chips

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Juniper pork with mushrooms and sage potato chips

Winter is the season of casseroles. Throwing everything in a pot and leaving it to simmer makes for stress-free cooking and they tast so much better the next day when the flavours have time to blend. I have used pork shoulder as it is tasty and cheap, but you can use the meat for the leg if you wish. Either way, trim it of fat.


  • 30 grams dried mushrooms (porcini, morel or shiitake)
  • 1 cup Madeira
  • 1 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 12 baby or 4 large onions
  • 4 bacon steaks or rashers
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 kilogram trimmed shoulder pork
  • 4 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • a few stalks parsley and thyme (whole, tied together)
  • about 8-10 baby oyster mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms

Sage potato chips


  1. Place the first lot of mushrooms in a saucepan with the Madeira and juniper berries and gently bring to the boil. Alternatively, you can use the microwave - allow one minute on full power. Remove from the heat and allow to stand while preparing everything else.
  2. Peel the baby onions, leaving whole. If using large onions, cut them into quarters.
  3. Trim the rind from the bacon and slice thickly. Remove the string from the celery and cut into thick pieces. Cut the pork into 3cm pieces.
  4. Heat the oil or butter in a heavy-based casserole pot and brown the onion, bacon and celery over a high heat. Remove from the pan. Brown the pork pieces in batches. Do not add all the pork at once as it will lower the temperature and the pork will stew rather than brown.
  5. Return the vegetables to the pan and add the garlic, Madeira, mushrooms, chicken stock and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to simmer for about 1-1¼ hours until the pork is tender. (If you do not have a cast iron or similar dish which can take direct heat, brown all the vegetables and meat in a saucepan and then transfer to a lidded oven dish and cook at 180ºC for the same length of time). Remove the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the oyster or shiitake mushrooms, allowing them time to warm through. Serve with Sage Potato Chips.

Sage Potato Chips

  1. Peel the potatoes if you wish. Very carefully slice them into wafer-thin slices.
  2. On a lightly greased baking tray, place one layer of potato slices. Brush with a little melted butter or oil. Place a herb leaf on top of each slice of potato and then sandwich with a second potato slice and brush again with butter or oil.
  3. Bake at 200ºC for 10 minutes until golden and crisp.

Cooks Tips

- The casserole has a lovely delicate flavour, but the sauce is thin. If you would like to thicken it, then just before serving, blend 2 tablespoons of cornflour with a little water to make a thin paste, stir into the casserole and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened. Do not boil rapidly.

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