Cider-braised smoked bacon or Gammon with apples
- 2kg piece smoked Bacon rind on or whole piece of Gammon
- 6 small apples, whole
- 700ml quality chicken stock
- 10 chat potatoes or small kipflers
- 2 big handfuls parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 500ml apple cider
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp honey
- 8 cloves garlic, smashed, skin on
- 6 shallots, thickly sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tsp ginger powder
- Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Rub the bacon with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge overnight, turning occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 200C fan-forced or 220C conventional.
- Place the bacon in an ovenproof baking dish, skin side up, along with the marinade and add the stock (don’t cover the skin with marinade or stock, or it won’t colour). Score a circle around the top of each apple with a sharp knife and place them in the dish with the bacon. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Baste well with the juices and cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon rind is a richly dark tone. Remove the bacon, apples from the baking dish and set aside. Place the dish over a high heat and simmer until the sauce is reduced, slightly thickened and intensely flavoured.
- While the bacon cooks, boil the potatoes in plenty of salted water until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool briefly, season with salt and pepper, then toss with plenty of butter and parsley.
- Cut the bacon into slices about 2cm thick, with the rind on. Arrange on plates with the apples spoon the sauce over and serve with the potatoes on the side.
- You need to start this the day before cooking but don’t rush it, as the long marinating time really helps the flavours penetrate the cured meat.
- Scoring a line around the apples is important when you cook them whole, as they can explode if the steam can’t escape. This is not necessarily dangerous, but it’s certainly messy.