I was shopping in The Spice Trader store (http://www.thespicetrader.ca/) a few weeks ago. It’s a beautiful shop that sells organic spices, spice blends and a variety of salt as well. I came across juniper berries and had to have a tin. When I was checking out, the shopkeeper asked me what I was going to do with them. The pressure!
Juniper berries are used to flavour gin and are especially good with game and wild birds. I wasn’t going to use the berries for any of those reasons. Sadly, when put on the spot like that, all I could remember was a recipe for pâté, so I gave that as my answer. But the real reason that I bought the juniper berries was to make this. I’m glad I finally remembered.
Here’s what to do.
Some of the ingredients.
Sausages, apples, onions, thyme, bay leaves and garlic.
Start by browning the sausages.
While the sausages are browning, do some chopping.
Slice the onions.
Chop the bacon.
Crushed juniper berries.
Cut the apples into thick wedges so they don’t fall apart when they’re cooking.
Getting ready to braise.
The bacon and onions are cooked.
Add the sausages to the pan.
Sprinkle the flour over and stir it into the pan juices.
Pour in the apple cider and cider vinegar.
Get the apples into the pan too.
Cover the fry pan with a lid, turn the temperature down and wait an hour.
This was served with cauliflower purée.
I wasn’t hung up on getting exactly the same apples as called for in the recipe, but looked for a firm, tart variety that would hold up to being pan fried, then braised. Even if you can’t find juniper berries, you should try this out. Pork onions, apples and more pork—in the form of bacon—come together in a very tasty way. It’s bangers and mash, taken to a higher level.
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book, One by Delia Smith
Find it here: http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/pork/pork-sausages-braised-in-cider-with-apples-and-juniper.html
Pork Sausages Braised in Cider with Apples and Juniper
6 large pork sausages, weighing about 1 lb (450 g), preferably outdoor-reared pork
15 fl. oz. (425 ml) strong dry cider
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 Bramley apple, cored and sliced into rings (unpeeled)
1 Cox’s apple, cored and sliced into rings (unpeeled)
1 level dessertspoon juniper berries, crushed slightly either in a pestle and mortar or with the back of a tablespoon
2 dessertspoons olive oil
8 oz. (225 g) onions, peeled and sliced into rings
1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
8 oz. (225 g) lean smoked bacon, roughly chopped
1 level tablespoon plain flour
a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Begin by taking a large, heavy-based frying pan, place it on a medium heat and add 1 dessertspoon of the oil to it. As soon as it’s hot, fry the sausages until they are nicely browned on all sides, then, using a draining spoon, transfer them to a plate.
Now add the onions, garlic and bacon to the frying pan and cook these until they have also browned at the edges – about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the casserole on to another heat source, again turned to medium, add the other dessertspoon of oil, then, when it’s hot, add the apple rings and brown these on both sides, which will take 2-3 minutes.
After that, add the sausages, followed by the bacon, onion and garlic, then sprinkle the flour in to soak up the juices, stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Next add the cider and cider vinegar, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Then add the thyme, bay leaves and crushed juniper berries, season with salt and pepper, but not too much salt because of the bacon.
After that, put the lid on and simmer very gently on the lowest possible heat for 1 hour.
Serve with mashed potato.