Pickled Pork with Onions and Prunes

4:08 am on 9 August 2008

 When you've already made all your favourite meaty winter dinners and spring is still weeks away, try pickled pork, sometimes called corned pork, or unsmoked ham.  Boiling bacon is another possibility.  This recipe is based on one from Fergus Henderson, a British cook whose London restaurants, St Johns and St Johns Bread and Wine, are famous for their celebration of traditional British meat cookery.

Pickled pork from an independent butcher will usually be cut from the shoulder, while supermarket packs are often leg meat. Any leftover meat will be delicious eaten cold accompanied by tamarillo chutney, or cut in slices and fried like bacon.

(Serves 4)


  • 1 kg (approx) piece pickled pork or boiling bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 prunes
  • good slosh of white wine, sherry, vermouth or Madeira
  • half cup water

To finish:

  • lots of chopped parsley
  • freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 140C.

Rinse the meat under the cold tap and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

Take an enamelled cast iron casserole dish and add the butter. Put over moderate heat until the butter melts, then add the sliced onions. Stir the onions until they soften but have not started to brown. Add the bay leaf and place the meat on top.

Place the prunes around the meat and add the wine or alternative, and the water. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat, cover with a lid. If the lid is not tight-fitting, place a square of foil under the lid. 

Put in the oven and cook gently for 2 hours. Check after one hour, and add a little more water if the liquid has dried out. 

When ready to serve, place the meat on a heated platter. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the prunes and onions and put them beside the meat.

Add the parsley and a grinding of pepper to the remaining liquid. Spoon a little of the liquid over the onions and prunes, and serve the rest in a jug.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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