This is what I call comfort food. It really does cheer me up when the days are cold and grey.
It’s a very simple but satisfying dish of earthy lentils, pork and cabbage flavoured with fresh ginger and a hint of five spice. It pairs well with jacket potatoes which can be cooked in the oven at the same time.
PORK WITH CABBAGE AND LENTILS
900 g shoulder or spare rib pork, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 large carrots peeled and chopped
1 large leek, sliced
1 star anise crushed or ½ teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
½ teaspoon celery salt
400 ml chicken stock
300 g green cabbage finely shredded
110 g Puy lentils
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas Mk 4.
Trim the meat but leave a little fat for flavour.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed casserole dish and when it is hot fry the meat, in batches until golden brown. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
Except for the cabbage, add all the vegetables, garlic and ginger to the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring from time to time, until they begin to colour. Add the crushed star anise or five spice and fry for a minute or two longer.
Return the meat to the pan, stir well, scraping up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan and then add the stock, seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with a close fitting lid and cook for 1 hour in the oven.
Meanwhile, put the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 20 minutes, the lentils should still have a slight bite. Drain and reserve.
Steam the cabbage until tender, refresh by plunging in to cold water. Drain well.
When the meat is cooked stir in the cabbage and lentils. Check the seasoning and add more salt or pepper if needed. If the mixture is to dry add a little more stock or water, just sufficient to moisten the dish.
Heat through on the hob and serve.