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Pork and lentil hotpot with caramelised apple

This is a tasty hotpot with that classic pork-and-apple combo. Philippa forced me to write this recipe down because she liked it so much, which is impressive since she's not into pork!

Serves 4 and takes about 45 minutes, plus some extra time at first (optionalish) to soak the lentils.

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 300g pork mince
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2--3 medium potatoes, washed
  • 1 yellow courgette (or a normal one)
  • 1 apple (I used a cooking apple - a normal apple is fine though)
  • Olive oil

Soak the lentils in a bowl of water for about an hour, then drain them.

Start the oven pre-heating to about 180°C.

In a fairly large pan heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Peel and dice the onion and the garlic. Add the onion to the pan and start it frying, adding the garlic after a couple of minutes. Stir and fry for a couple of minutes to soften.

Add the pork mince and stir it in, letting it take a bit of colour as it fries. Add the lentils too, and stir them in. Add the red wine, and cook it for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add the mustard powder, and enough hot water to only just cover it all.

Let that simmer a bit while you prepare the potatoes. No need to peel them; slice them very thinly, using the mandolin part of your grater, or just slice them thinly with a knife if you haven't got one. Also, chop the courgette into chunky slices.

Now take a big ceramic pot or similar (about 20cm diameter, for example; no lid needed) and assemble the hotpot. Put half of the pork mixture into the pot, then sprinkle the courgette pieces over, then add the rest of the pork mixture. Layer the potato slices on top to make a covering, then sprinkle a good dose of olive oil over the top.

Put the hotpot in the oven and bake for 30--40 minutes, until the top is getting nicely crispy.

When the hotpot is almost ready, heat up some oil in a frying pan, slice the apple, and fry the slices hot for about five minutes (turning half-way) so that they caramelise. Serve up the hotpot with the fried apple slices on the side.

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