Indonesian Pork

Oh, this tastes so good!  Indonesian flavours are robust, aromatic and invigorate the taste buds, but in a pleasant rather than a thuggish way. 

 

I have kept this fragrant rather than hot and spicy because I didn't want to mask the wonderfully delicate flavours, but if you'd like a little more heat just add fresh chilli, paste or powder.

Perhaps the list of ingredients is a little long, but I hope you will agree, it's worth it.

4 Pork shoulder steaks

Marinade:

2 finely chopped onions

5 fat cloves of garlic

2 tbsps. grated root ginger

Generous squeeze lemon grass paste (from a tube)

Generous handful of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

2 heaped teaspoons medium curry powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tbsp. soft brown sugar

1 tbsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

400ml tin coconut milk

Salt and pepper

Oven 160c, gas 3,  pre-heated

  • Whizz all the marinade ingredients together with a stick hand blender or food processor until smooth

  • Put the pork into a roasting pan which fits the steaks all in one layer fairly snugly

  • Pour over the marinade, cover tightly with foil and leave in the fridge to absorb the flavours for an hour or two, but over night if possible.

  • Transfer to the oven and cook just as it is, still covered with the foil, for approximately an hour and a half, by which time the pork should be soft and yielding.

  • Serve with boiled rice.

 

 

Helpful Hints and Avoiding Stumbles

 

If adding chilli, bear in mind its heat will increase a little with long cooking.

Cut up the pork steaks if you prefer smaller pieces of meat, but remember the fat within the steaks will, to a great extent, melt away during cooking - helping to keep the meat soft and succulent - but smaller pieces of meat coul end up very small indeed.

You may think the amount of liquid in the marinade does not seem very much, but more will accumulate during cooking.

Indonesian Pork will freeze (although at its best freshly cooked) and will keep 3 days in the fridge after cooking.

Cider Apple Pork with Mushrooms 

Of course cider and apples are traditional with pork but I wanted to add something more.  The result here is surely pretty and flavourful enough for any occasion and no undue stresses involved either. 

 

The apple element is added in a very lazy way, but you can of course take the long route if you wish. 

4 pork shoulder steaks

2 onions, finely chopped

2 fat cloves of garlic

3 rashers of smoked back bacon

200g mushrooms, sliced

1 good tbsp. full fat créme fraiche

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

3 generous tsps. apple sauce from a jar

2 tsps. redcurrant jelly 

150ml cider

salt and pepper

Oven 160c, gas 3,  pre-heated

  • Sweat the finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt in a pan until translucent

  • Using a pair of scissors, snip in the bacon and stir around until the bacon begins to brown

  • Stir in the garlic and mushrooms

  • Add the créme fraiche and stir for a minute or two whilst it bubbles and thickens

  • Stir in the Dijon mustard, apple sauce, redcurrant jelly and cider.  Bring back to simmering.

  • Taste, season with pepper and salt if it needs it (the bacon may be salty)

  • Lie the pork steaks in one closely fitting layer in a roasting pan and pour over the mushroomy sauce

  • Cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for about one and a half hours, by which time the pork should be soft and yielding.

Helpful Hints and Avoiding Stumbles

Always allow for a little extra cooking time.  It may not be necessary, but the pork will wait very happily; it is tiresome if you are famished and more cooking time is needed.​

I do not include a step about browning the meat as it is unnecessary.

Sweating onion with a little salt keeps it from cooking too fast and sticking to the pan.

If you have a good grater (and a quality grater is worth every penny) the easiest way to add garlic is to grate it in.

You may not need the whole 150ml of cider, but you do want enough sauce to almost cover the pork in the roasting pan.  The juices will increase in volume as everything cooks.

When  you taste for seasoning the sauce may seem a little sharp, but the redcurrant jelly will counteract this as it melts during cooking.

A slug of Calvados would, of course, take everything up a grade.

Serve the pork with the onion, mushrooms, bacon, etc. piled on top of each steak and drizzle with a little sauce.  Serve any remaining in a jug so that guests can help themselves.

Pork with Orzo and Feta

1 tbsp. olive oil

3 onions, fairly finely chopped

3 fat cloves of garlic

4 pork shoulder steaks

2 carrots, cut into four length-ways

1 400g tin plum tomatoes

1 big tsp. redcurrant jelly

400ml white wine or chicken stock

Generous shake of Worcestershire sauce

Generous curl of lemon zest

3 fresh bay leaves

About 4 large sprigs of thyme

200ml water 

100g orzo (pasta looking very much like rice)

Crumbled Feta cheese

Oven 160c, gas 3,  preheated.

Pork Shoulder Steaks with Orzo and Feta - Comfort, a warm hug, in fact.

By happy accident, I took my eye off the ball (distracted by zooming during lock-down) and left this braised pork and orzo in the oven far too long, transforming it into something vaguely resembling a thick porky risotto, which astonishingly considering this is not a risotto at all, I found to be comforting and unctuous

 

You can, of course, reduce the cooking time and serve it in the conventional way as a recognisable braise, but when cooked longer the orzo absorbs all those lovely porky tomatoey juices, the flavour becomes deliciously concentrated and the pork itself becomes meltingly soft. 

 

Either way, the crumbled feta on top is absolutely delicious.  The dish needs no accompaniment, apart from perhaps, a green salad.

  • Sweat the onions in an oven-proof pan with a lid, preferably one in which the pork will fit in a single layer.

  • When the onion has become soft and translucent, grate in the garlic

  • Add the carrots

  • Lie the pork steaks on top

  • Add the tinned 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

  • Add approximately 200 ml of water, you want everything to seem quite liquid because of the pasta

  • Bring up to quite hot on the stove top, cover tightly either with a lid or foil and transfer to the oven.

  • Cook approximately one and a half hours; the pork should be soft and sitting in lots of delicious juices.

  • Add the orzo - distribute it around a bit, make sure it is all submerged and the liquid is still piping hot.  Cover tightly.

  • Return to the oven for approximately 15 minutes for a normal braise, or for 30 minutes for the comfort version.  The longer it cooks, the drier it becomes, obviously.

  • Serve sprinkled generously with crumbled feta cheese.  Don't omit it, this makes the recipe!

Pork Shoulder Steaks with Sumac

Sumac gives a light and bright, almost 

citrus flavour zing.

 

Oven 160c, gas 3,   preheated

 

 

 

4 pork shoulder steaks

Drop olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic

80ml white wine

Fresh thyme

2 fresh bay leaves

2 good tsps. sumac

1 tsp. redcurrant jelly

Approx. 30ml of water

  • Gently sweat the onions with a pinch of salt in the olive oil until translucent

  • Grate in the garlic

  • Place the pork steaks in a roasting pan in which they fit snugly in a single layer.

  • Add the onions and garlic

  • Add everything else.  Juices will accumulate during cooking.

  • Cover and braise in the oven for an hour and a half until soft and succulent.

Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Redcurrant, Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon

This meltingly tender and succulent lamb is perfect for a party or family gathering because it sits in the oven looking after itself, stretching the timing is not an issue, the juices which accumulate make a delicious gravy and carving certainly isn't an issue because it will literally fall apart. 

 

Shoulder is a comparatively fatty joint, but it is the fat which prevents the joint from drying out and it largely disappears during cooking.

Rosemary and garlic are, of course, very traditional, but there is a reason for this, the combination is hard to beat with lamb.

2.50 kg shoulder of lamb

2 large sprigs of rosemary from the garden or a full bought packet

3 generous tbsps. redcurrant jelly

2 tbsps. olive oil

1 whole bulb of garlic + 6 fat cloves garlic

2 lemons

2 onions and 3 large potatoes for trivet

1 pint lamb (or beef would be fine) stock, made with a cube. 

Oven 160c

  • Strip the leaves from the rosemary, chop finely and put into a bowl

  • Peel the 6 fat cloves of garlic and grate them onto the bowl with the rosemary

  • Grate the lemon zest into the bowl and add the juice of the lemons.  Save the skins.

  • Put the redcurrant jelly into a small jar (or use its own) and vigorously stir with a small fork until it breaks down to a slightly lumpy but pourable consistency.  Add it to the bowl.

  • Lastly, add the olive oil to the bowl.  Stir together.  You should now have a spreadable and very flavourful paste

  • Using a very sharp knife (a bread knife or a clean stanley knife) make several slashes in the lamb skin and spread the mixture over the lamb, pushing it into the slashes using your fingers.

  • Leave to marinate like this to absorb the flavour for as long as you can, over night would be good, but do what you can.

  • Just before cooking, cut the onions in half - no need to peel them, their brown skins will add colour to your gravy and place in the bottom of a large roasting pan.  Now cut the potatoes into large chunks, similar in size to the onions and put them into the roasting pan with the onions to create a trivet for the lamb. 

 

  • Sit the lamb on top of the vegetables and pour in 1 pint of hot lamb stock (made with a cube).

  • Rub away any loose papery skin from the garlic bulb, tuck it into the roasting pan and add the lemon shells

  • Cover the whole lot tightly with a double layer of foil and cook in the oven at 160c without disturbing it for 4 hours.

  • After 4 hours undisturbed cooking the lamb will be falling from the bone but still beautifully moist.

  • Allow the lamb to rest for at least 20 minutes, preferably 30 minutes before serving.

  • Remove the lemon shells from the juices and discard.  The onions and potatoes will be delicious but not particularly pretty.

  • Remove the garlic bulb from the juices and squeeze the soft pulp onto a saucer, squash to a puree with a fork and slip into the juices.  

  • The juices may be boiled hard to reduce and create a delicious gravy.  Add a little cornflour to thicken if you wish.

Oven 180 c

  • Use your fingers to pull any remaining fat layers from the

       meat.  I like to be fairly ruthless about this despite the

      searing in step 2 because the meaty flesh will cook quickly

      and under cooked lamb fat is unpleasant.

  • Make a small cut between each rib bone to make carving                                                      later even easier 

  • Heat a frying pan and sear the meat on all sides until lightly

      browned

  • Spread the chilli jam over the meat

  • In a small bowl mix together the panko crumbs, sesame

      seeds and grated parmesan and then press it firmly onto the

      chilli jammed meat

  • Transfer the rack to a roasting pan - if you are cooking several

       racks you can interlink the bones and make the racks stand up - indeed you can serve them           this  way, referred to as Guard of Honour

  • Roast 20-25 minutes for pink meat, 30 minutes for medium.  

  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.

French Trimmed Rack of Lamb with a Parmesan and Sesame Crust

Rack of Lamb is for me the very best, the equivalent of rib of beef but small, sweet and delectable so actually it is perhaps best kept simple, but on this occasion I wanted to do just something to smarten it up slightly and show I had made an effort (even if it was rather a small one)

I think using the chilli jam as "glue" for the parmesan crust gives a more interesting and sympathetic flavour than the more usual Dijon mustard and it is not overpowering.

1 french trimmed rack of lamb (enough for 2)

2 tsps. chilli jam (from a jar)

1 tbsp. panko crumbs

1 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan

1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Spiced Rack of Lamb with Pine Kernals

Another Rack of Lamb, but even better.  It's aromatic and warming not hot allowing the flavour of the lamb to sing through.

So trouble free to prepare and ready after 20 minutes in the oven.  We occasionally served

individual "lollipops" of lamb at drinks parties when the guests were relaxed and hungry; they were hugely popular with men but often a step too far for women!

1 french trimmed rack of lamb

2 tsps. rose harissa paste

half tsp. ground coriander

half tsp. ground cumin

half tsp. cinnamon

half tsp. turmeric

1 fat clove garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. pine kernels, roughly chopped

1 tbsp. plain Greek yoghurt

chopped parsley

Oven 180c

  • Although your butcher will  happily french trim the rack for you, there will still be fat to remove and this cut is not the cheapest, but it must be done.  You can pull it away easily using your fingers.  Make a small cut between each bone to make carving extra easy later.

  • In a small bowl mix together all the spices, grate in the garlic and stir in the olive oil to create a thick, dark paste.

  • Using a small oiled frying pan, sear the meat on all sides, paying special attention to any pesky fat which may remain

  • Spread a fairly thin layer of rose harissa paste all over the meat, then generously spread your spice/garlic mixture over the top, lastly press the chopped pine kernels into the coating.

  • Roast 180c 20 minutes for pink meat, 25 minutes if you prefer medium.  Rest the meat 10 minutes.

  • Stir chopped parsley into the yoghurt - add a little milk or water if it is very thick - and season.  Drizzle over the lamb and savour every mouthful

Oven 190c.  You will also need a sheet of foil a little longer than the tenderloin

Dijon, Pecorino and Parsley Crusted Tenderloin of Pork

A simple pork mini joint with a tasty, vaguely cheesy, crunchy crust; serve with the easy white wine sauce below.  You could use tarragon in place of the parsley.  A pork tenderloin weighs about half a kilo and will serve 4 people.

1 pork tenderloin

30g panko breadcrumbs

15g butter 

1 clove garlic

Handful of parsley, chopped

20g grated pecorino

2 tsps. Dijon mustard 

Black pepper

  • Before you start, trim away any silver skin or sinew on the pork which will make it toughen.

  • Melt the butter and stir in the panko crumbs so that they become buttery

  • Grate in the clove of garlic and add the grated pecorino and chopped parsley (or tarragon).  Season with black pepper but no salt as both the pecorino and the Dijon mustard are salty

  • Put the pork onto the piece of foil with its top side downwards and, using the back of a teaspoon spread the mustard all over what will be the bottom of the pork and press half of the breadcrumb mixture all over it.

  • Now turn the pork over so that the crumbed side is at the bottom and repeat the procedure on the top side, so that the pork is enveloped in the breadcrumb mixture.

  • Lift the pork and foil into a roasting tin and roast 190c for 20-25 minutes only.  It is quite safe to serve pork tenderloin slightly pink; indeed it will become dry if overcooked.

Simple White Wine Sauce

1 onion, finely chopped

Drop oil

100ml white wine

2 tbsps. creme fraiche

Parsley/tarragon

  • Cook the onion gently with a pinch of salt in the oil until translucent and soft

  • Add the white wine and bubble until its volume is reduced by half

  • Add the creme fraiche and bubble again

  • Stir in a little chopped parsley or tarragon, season and serve with the pork.

Asian Fillet of Beet

Inspired by Rachel Allen's Korean Beef, this is my take on her lovely recipe.   Quick, uncomplicated and alluringly dark and glossy, it's perfect for entertaining because, not only is it utterly delicious with easy general appeal, it's fast to prepare and the attention it needs at the last moment isn't too taxing.

Serve with rice and perhaps simple green beans, or - rather more interesting - Chinese Smacked Cucumber (recipe to come shortly) which also minimises last minute fuss.

400g Fillet of beef

Marinade:

4 tbsps. sesame oil

4 tbsps. low salt soy sauce

3 tbsps. rice wine vinegar

6 fat cloves of garlic, grated

2 tbsps. soft light brown sugar

2 tsps. grated root ginger

2 tsps. Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla)

  • Put all the marinade ingredients into a bowl large enough to take the beef and stir together.

  • Cut the raw beef into slices about 1 cm thick and then in half again  Don't worry too much if there are some scraggy bits.

  • Put the beef into the marinade and make sure it is thoroughly coated.  Leave to absorb the flavours for an hour or two if  you have time.  Don't worry of not.

  • Using a wok or frying pan cook the beef, which will have marinade clinging to it, on a high heat for two or three minutes, no more.

  • Add any remaining marinade to the pan, bring to the boil and bubble for a minute or so to reduce and thicken.

  • Serve with rice