Cooking pork or ham in cider imparts it with a flavour that is both delicious and subtle. What's more, the cooking liquor makes a fantastic sauce.
I recently got sent some mini pork knuckles from Donald Russell, which are perfect one-portion cuts for this dish – otherwise you could use larger pork knuckles and cut them once cooked.
4 mini pork knuckles or 2 larger ones
500ml medium cider
500ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs of thyme
1 large onion, peeled and halved
For the sauce
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1tbsp Tewkesbury mustard
150ml double cream
1-2tbsp chopped parsley
Put the pork knuckles in a saucepan with the cider, chicken stock, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme and onion. If the cider and stock isn't sufficient to cover the pork well, add some cold water too.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 1-1½ hours, skimming every so often, or until the meat is just coming away from the bone.
Strain about 250-300ml of the pork cooking liquid into a small saucepan; cover the pan to keep the pork hot. Simmer the stock with the shallots until it's reduced by about half, then add the mustard and continue simmering until it reduces to a couple of tablespoons.
Next, add the cream and simmer until it's reduced by about two-thirds and thickened; now add the parsley, simmer for a minute, season to taste and remove from the heat.
To serve, remove the pork knuckles from the pan, dry on some kitchen paper and place on warmed serving plates, then pour the sauce over.