FRIDAY’S DISH: Braising Goddess


I watch a lot of food television. I mean A LOT of food television and one of my favorite television chefs is Nigella Lawson. She has the most delicious way of describing the food she is making. Her recipes leap off of the screen and she is not afraid to make a bit of a mess. What seems most important to her is the end result. Overall, she’s my kind of cook.  In addition to her glorious descriptive skills, her dishes are no muss, no fuss. Each time I have tried to make something I’ve seen on her show things turn out pretty darn good. With a few modifications, as evidenced by the accompanying pictures, the following recipe was no exception.

With the weather getting colder I thought it would be a good time to trot out some of the braising recipes I’ve collected over the years, and Nigella’s braised pork knuckle is one I was itching to try. I was also elated to pick up a few apples from the Greenmarket in Jackson Heights near my apartment. I was able to use some in this recipe and some in a recipe for braised kale. I picked up that simple recipe right there at the market. When all was said and done, I had braised my way to a hearty cold weather meal.

NOTE: This recipe is not mine and all credit goes to the kitchen Goddess, Nigella Lawson and another skillful cook, Ashley Rafalow.

Beer Braised Pork Knuckles with Caraway, Garlic, Apples and Potatoes
From Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. Copyright (c) 2010 Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.
Total Time: 3 hr 25 min
Prep: 25 min
Cook: 3 hr
Level: Easy
Yield: 6 servings


  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 pork knuckles or hocks, rind scored
  • 2 onions
  • 2 eating apples, cored and quartered
  • 4 baking potatoes, or 2 pounds other large white skinned potatoes, cut into quarters lengthwise
  • 2 cups good amber or dark ale (not Guinness or stout)
  • 2 cups boiling water
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Put the salt and caraway seeds into a bowl, mince or grate in the garlic, and stir to combine. Add the pork knuckles and rub them well with the caraway mixture, getting it into the slits in the rind where it was scored.

Peel the onions and slice them into rounds and add them to the bottom of a roasting tin, making a bed or platform. Sit the knuckles on top of the onions and cook them for 30 minutes.

Take the tin out of the oven and quickly arrange the apples and potatoes around the knuckles. Carefully pour 1 cup of the beer over the knuckles, so they are basted as the liquid pours into the tin. Put the pan back into the oven. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and roast for 2 hours.

Turn the oven up again to 425 degrees F, and baste the hocks with the remaining beer. Roast for 30 minutes more.

Remove the tin from the oven and transfer the apples and potatoes to a warmed serving dish. Lift the knuckles onto a carving board and leave the onion and juices in the tin. Put the tin on the stove over medium heat and add 2 cups boiling water, stirring to deglaze the pan to make a gravy. Transfer the gravy to a serving bowl.

Take the crackling off the knuckles and break it into pieces, then add them to a serving bowl. Pull or carve the pork meat and add it to the bowl with the crackling. Serve with the apples, potatoes, gravy and some German mustard.

Make Ahead Note: 

The pork and onions can be put in roasting tin up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Just before cooking, rub with the salt, caraway and garlic and cook as directed. 

Making leftovers right: 
Leftover pork can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 3 days. Eat it cold or reheat gently in a saucepan with leftover gravy, until piping hot. You should store any leftover gravy in a separate airtight container in the in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Leftover pork can be frozen for up to 2 months, tightly wrapped in foil, then defrosted overnight in the refrigerator. Even if you have an amount too small to be useful by itself (a likely outcome), simply bag and mark it up and freeze it for future use in the Pantry Paella recipe.
Kale with Apple & Onion
Recipe by Ashley Rafalow, Market Manager
Serves 4 as a side dish


  • 1 head of kale, roughly chopped (keep ribs and stems on!)
  • 1cipolliini onion, diced
  • 1 apple, preferably fuji, gala or empire, diced
  • 12 oz apple cider
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
*Ingredients available seasonally at your neighborhood Greenmarket
Heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions, sauté until translucent
Add apples, cook until slightly softened and browned, about two minutes.
Add chopped kale. Sautee briefly until kale begins to wilt.
Add half of the apple cider, reduce heat to a simmer.
Cover and cook until kale is softened, about 5-7 minutes.
Remove lid and continue to simmer kale until cider is reduced by 2/3, about 10 minutes. If kale begins to stick, add more water.
Add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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