Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Apple season - Pork and Bramley bake

Growing up in Ireland, one of the strongest memories of baking at home was helping my mother peel and cut apples for apple tarts. In fact apple tart is such a favourite speciality among friends that you could almost feel convinced into never making one for Irish people, in the knowledge that almost every person in Ireland has a favourite apple tart recipe that you could never beat. For years now Ive received apples from people at this time of year and have made all host of apple dishes but had never actually visited an orchard or picked any.

This all changed a few weeks ago when the lovely people at Bord Bia organised a trip to Stagrennan farm near Drogheda to line up with Bramley apple week. Stagrennan farm is a family orchard run by the lovely McNeece family since 1962, although with a family history in the apple business since 1890. The McNeeces grow a number of dessert apples on their farm at Stagrennan along with the Bramleys to help with cross pollination. Many of their apples are sold around the country for juice, cider making and bakery produce along as for eating. They will also shortly be bringing out their own lovely cloudy Apple juice (far superior to imported orange juice) and range of jellies.

Bramleys Seedlings have been growing in Ireland for over 3000 years and have old Brehon laws have protected them from harm over this time which has helped Ireland produce over a third of the worlds supply. Bramleys are the main apple used in cooking and baking and have quite a sharp taste when eaten (although this never stopped me as a kid when my mother was baking apple tarts). They break down to a lovely fluffy texture when baking which is great when baked as a sweet treat or even  for making a simple apple sauce. The other main benefits to the lazy cook are that they are typically quite big which comes in handy when peeling and can last quite a long time from when you buy them to when you eventually go to make something with them!

This time of year its great to have a good one pot meal to make when you get home from work and this one is as quick and tasty as they come. Its also seriously in terms of the amount non fussy and involved just one tray, a chopping board and one knife for preparation!

Pork and Bramley bake, with thanks to Bord Bia for the recipe which I have slightly modified here due to the amount of ingredients I had available to me at the time. 

Serves 2 but can be easily multiplied

  • 2 medium size potatoes (I used Kerr Pinks)
  • 1 medium sized red onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 bramley apple
  • 400g of pork fillet chopped into inch thick slices
  • a sprig of rosemary or a handful of fresh sage leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C
  2. Chop the potatoes and onion into wedges and place in a roasting dish along with the garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes
  3. Meanwhile chop the apple into wedges and the pork fillet into inch thick slices. Sprinkle salt, pepper and olive oil over the meat.
  4. Place the apple wedges on top of the potatoes and onions and then the meat on top of the apple. Add the sprig of rosemary but if you are using sage leave it until 5 minutes before the end of baking
  5. Return to the oven for 20 further minutes and then serve
You can find a whole host of other apple recipes here on the Bord Bia website, including possibly the best sandwich I have ever tasted.

Thanks again to Bord Bia and Olan and Fiona McNeece for laying on such a fantastic spread of appley goodness and the tour along with Tara Walker for the great demonstration on cooking with Bramleys


  1. Wow,picking apples sure is a delight. Thanks for sharing this recipe.It sure looks delish! I'm clicking the link to find out more about the best sandwich.

  2. Sounds delicious! Nice and seasonal as well. Think I'll give this a try with some honey and mustard drizzled over it as well.


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