Pork Shoulder Steaks with Orzo and Feta
By happy accident, I took my eye off the ball and left this braised pork and orzo in the oven far too long, transforming it into something vaguely resembling a rather stodgy, thick meaty risotto which, astonishingly I found to be comforting and unctuous. You can, of course, reduce the cooking time after adding the orzo and serve it as a recognisable braise, but I can only say that when cooked for a little longer the orzo absorbs all those lovely porkey tomatoey juices, the flavour becomes deliciously concentrated and the pork itself becomes meltingly soft. Either way, the crumbled feta on top is absolutely sublime. The dish needs no accompaniment apart from perhaps, a simple salad.
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, fairly finely chopped
3 fat cloves of garlic
4 pork shoulder steaks
2 carrots cut into 4 lengthways
1 tin plum tomatoes
1 big tsp. redcurrant jelly
400ml white wine
Generous shake Worcestershire sauce
Generous curl of lemon zest
3 fresh bay leaves
About 4 large sprigs thyme
Crumbled Feta cheese
Oven 160c or 140c fan
Sweat the onions in an oven-proof pan with a lid, preferably one which is large enough to fit the pork all in one layer When the onion is soft and translucent, grate in the garlic. Add the carrots.
Lie the pork steaks on top in a single layer
Add the tomatoes (squash them a bit), redcurrant jelly, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Tuck in the curl of lemon zest (use a potato peeler), thyme and bay leaves
Now add 200ml water - you want everything to seem quite liquid because you will be adding the orzo to it later
Bring up to quite hot on the stove top, cover tightly with foil or clamp on a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook approximately one and a half hours, by which time the pork should be soft and sitting in lots of delicious juices.
Add the orzo. Distribute it around making sure it is all completely submerged and that the liquid is still piping hot. Cover tightly again. Return to the oven for 15 minutes or so for a straightforward braise, or for about 30 minutes for the more solid, comfort version. The longer it cooks, the drier it becomes, obviously.
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