Friday 28 March 2008

unctous, satisfying, porky goodness

If that's what you are looking for then look no further!

I originally came across it on one of my favourite sites the Amateur Gourmet, and he in turn from Chef Suzanne Goin's cookbook 'Sunday supper at Lucques'. You can get the recipe from here.

This is the second time I've made it, with a few changes of my own. The first time round I thought that a tablespoon and two teaspoons of salt was a bit much, even for me, so I cut this down. I also thought it could stand some tomatoes, so added a tin whilst it was simmering away. Since Him Indoors, adores champ I usually serve that instead of polenta. I guess the important thing is that there is something carb-like to mop up the lovely moreish sauce that this dish creates.

First things first, you will need to check your store-cupboard for the following spices: 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp coriander, 2 tbsp fennel seeds (toasted in a pan then coarsely ground), 1 tsp cayenne.

In addition you will need: 6 cloves garlic smashed up, 1 tbsp oregano leaves (I assumed these were fresh), 1 tbsp thyme leaves, 2 diced onions, 3 diced carrots, 2 diced fennel, 2 bay leaves, 1 chile de arbole crumbled, 600ml chicken stock, dash red wine vinegar.

These quantities are not exactly the same as the original recipe as I found that the salt needed was less than the original, and that I needed more liquid.

You'll need about 3 lbs of pork shoulder. I went to my local Chinese supermarket and ended up buying pork butt which sounds more fun than pork shoulder but I think is actually the same?. This is cut into big chunks and placed in a bowl with the spices, herbs and garlic:

This is then left to marinade for as long as possible, I left mine overnight. You are meant to take it out of the fridge 45 mins before you want to cook it and season it with salt and pepper after its been sitting for 15 mins.

In the meantime pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees and whilst this is heating up, get a heavy bottomed pot, add a generous glug of olive oil and heat it till it smokes. Then brown the meat and let it caramelise:

Then add the diced up carrot, fennel and onion:

make sure to get all the gooey pork fat from the bottom and coat the veg well. Add the bay leaves, chile and the left over garlic and herbs from the marinade bowl.

Cook until the veg starts to brown. Splash in the red wine vinegar and then add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the zest of a lemon and then the pork and put a sheet of tin foil over the pot before putting the lid on (I did not use a layer of cling film as the original recipe suggests as it can have a disastrous outcome, as Adam (Amateur Gourmet) found much to his chagrin). Now this baby is ready for the oven!

Leave in the oven for 2 and a half hours, and when you test it the meat should fall apart. You are then meant to separate the meat from the juices and cook the meat at 200 degrees for another 15 mins, and then return the gravy but to be honest I never have. I have been too keen to get it on my plate and eat it.

So much so that I don't actually have a photo of the end product, only the memory of a very unctous, satisfying porky stew.

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