It’s autumn and the weather here in the UK is cold and miserable, I’m in need of comfort food. For me, comfort food is not one type of food, it can be any type of food. For me to be comfort food it must make me feel nice, warm and happy and full. It certainly does not need to be complicated cooking, as long as it is tasty I’m happy. Sometimes, I may crave spicy food, other times Danish food, or sometimes something totally different.
Yesterday, I decided to make a traditional Danish dish Æbleflæsk or as I would have pronounced it in my local dialect as a child Æwlflæsk. The reason I suddenly had a craving for this dish was that someone on one of the food groups I follow on the internet asked what she should use her cooking apples for and then this popped to my mind. I knew I had to make it, I could not get it out of my mind.Æbleflæsk or pork with apples is a proper old fashioned Danish dish, and I believe there are many different versions of it. Now, in most parts of Denmark it would be eaten semi warm on rye bread, which is truly delicious. However, when I had it as a child it was normally eaten with potatoes, and then the leftovers were used for next day lunch served on rye bread.
We didn’t get it often as this was not the type of food my mum liked, way too unhealthy, but I do have memories of my dad making it once or twice. And Aunties on my dad’s side. It is such an easy recipe but so delicious and one of the most comfort type of dishes for me. Also, it is a good stress relief as you would need to beat the pork belly with a rolling pin, (this suited me well as I felt slightly down).
I made enough for 4 people, but you could easily just make it for two. The reason I made it for four was to have some for lunch the following day. I made this in the oven, however, it is as easily done if not easier in a frying pan, only reason I did it in the oven was that I could prepare it before hand, so I had very little to do when Toddler “Blip” and Baby was here. Toddler “Blip” was way too tired to eat anything when he came back from preschool, luckily, he had eaten very well there and only needed a yoghurt before he was going to bed he. I did manage to give him a quick bath before bed time though.
Pork With Apples – Æbleflæsk
12 slices of pork belly
4 Apples (if you use cooking apples you will need a bit of sugar to sweeten them)
1 tsp thyme
Salt and Pepper
Preparing in the oven
- Turn the oven to 200C.
- Beat the pork belly nice and flat, then layer them on a non stick baking tray (no need to add oil as the pork will release its own fat). Season with salt and pepper and thyme.
- Place at the top of the oven, they will need around 40-50 minutes of cooking time depending on your oven.
- Cut the onions into thin slices and cut the apples into wedges.
- Half way through the cooking time of the pork, remove the tray from the oven and remove the pork from the trays for the time being. Then add the onions to the hot fat and put the apples on top.
- Now place the pork on top of the apples and onions, making sure you have turned the pork over. Cook for another 20 minutes or until the pork is nice and brown and crispy.
- The apples and onions should be nice and soft cooked in the fat from the pork.
- Put the apples on the onions until a serving plate, leaving any excess oil in the tray. Then place the pork on top.
- I served it with potatoes on the side, but you could go traditional and serve on top of rye bread.
- You will need one large frying pan and one medium sized one; one for the pork and one for the onions and apples.
- Firstly, start by flattening the pork belly with the rolling pin, then season the meat with the thyme, salt and pepper.
- Then finely slice the onions and cut the apples into wedges.
- You may have to cook the pork belly in two rounds, if you overcrowd the pan it will stew instead. Heat up the large frying pan to high heat and brown off the pork belly for two minutes on each side. Then turn down the frying pan to a medium heat and cook the meat until brown and crispy, keep turning the meat.
- Pour some of the fat from the meat into the medium sized frying pan and add the apples and onions and cook for around 10 minutes, season it with salt and pepper.
- When the meat is ready to come out of the pan, you may want to put it on some kitchen towels to absorb some of the excess fat.
Bon Appetite – As my grandad would have said
These has been based on Tesco’s prices and the basic products where possible (Correct as per October 2017) – and is only for the pork/apple part of the dish.
Pork belly £6.60
Salt and Pepper 2p
Total £8.15 – per portion £2.04