Food

BHAL FIL-FORN (BRAISED PORK & POTATO CASSEROLE)

Date: 23 Aug 2017 Author: Jacqui Categories: Food, International Cuisine, Main Dishes Comments

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A literal translation of Bhal Fil-Forn is ‘Like in the Oven’.  Basically it is layered pork chops, onions, garlic and potatoes with some thick Maltese Sausage thrown in.  And instead of roasting it, it is cooked in a similar way to braising.  However, everything is thrown in raw and left to cook slowly for a few hours.

It was one of my favorite dishes growing up.  At home, it was more know as Patata Tal-Belt (Valletta Potatoes).  Not that it was some popular dish in the city of Valletta.  My mum used to prepare this every time she used to go shopping to Valletta, Malta’s Capital City.  She would prepare it early morning and leave it to cook on a very very low flame until she got back.  Because of this, my dad thought it more appropriate to call it Valletta Potatoes instead, and that is what I still call it today.  Aesthetically it is not so pretty, especially if you cook the potatoes until they melt into the sauce, but honestly it is really delicious!  Probably it is the tasty Maltese Sausage that makes this so good but am sure it will be just as wonderful if you use any other Italian Pork Sausage.

Ingredients

  • 4 Pork Chops
  • 5-6 large Potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Gluten Free Vegetable Stock, approx one cup
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Maltese Sausages, sliced thickly
  • Fennel Seeds (optional)
  • Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Method

Lightly grease a large pan or pot.  Start by placing half of the potatoes, followed by some onions, on the bottom of the pan, season and then place the pork chops on top.  Layer the rest of the potatoes and onions.  Place slivers of garlic in gaps. Sprinkle with chilli and fennel seeds if using.  Mix in the Worcestershire Sauce with the stock.  Gently pour in the stock and place the Maltese Sausage in between some of the potatoes.  Drizzle with a little olive oil.  Grind some pepper, and season with a little salt.  Cover and leave to cook over a very low flame until potatoes are fork tender. If it starts getting dry, add a little more stock.  If you wish, in order to thicken the sauce, using a fork, mash a few of the potato slices.