This low and slow casserole recipe is ideal to come home to after chilly winter days exploring Wales. Put it on in the morning and leave to bubble away, returning at lunchtime to an inviting comforting dish that welcomes you home for a cosy afternoon inside.
Full of classic hearty flavours of bacon, cider, and sage, this humbly decadent dish is sure to become a family favourite.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/ gas 3½. On the stove, place a large, flameproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat, adding 1½ tablespoons of sunflower oil. Add the bacon lardons, frying slowly until they become brown and crispy. Remove the bacon lardons from the casserole dish and place to one side on a clean plate.
Step 2: Heat the remaining sunflower oil in the casserole dish and in two separate batches, brown the pork before setting aside alongside the bacon lardons. Fry the shallots until they turn golden all over and also set these aside.
Step 3: Put approximately half the butter (around 27g) into the pan with all of the chopped onion. Cover them and cook for 10 minutes or until the onions become soft and lightly browned.
Step 4: Add the bacon and pork back into the pan before pouring the cider and stock all over, stirring in the sage, and bringing to the boil. Stir and cover with foil and the lid, before transferring to the oven to cook for an hour and a half.
Step 5: Remove from the oven and stir in the shallots and celery, then re-cover and place back into the oven for an additional 30 minutes. By this time the vegetables and meat should be deliciously tender!
Step 6: Remove the casserole from the oven and place it on the hob, removing the cover and bringing it to a simmer.
Step 7: Mix the remaining butter with the flour to make a smooth paste. Gently stir in some of the paste to the casserole and let it simmer and thicken, adding a little more if needed, until the casserole liquid has the desired consistency. You may not use all of the paste.
Step 8: Finally, stir in the mustard and crème fraîche and simmer for a final 1-2 minutes. Add one more extra splash of cider just before serving.
Serve with crusty bread and butter or piles of salty boiled new potatoes.