Sunday, 11 September 2011

Vietnamese style pork

Last week I made slow cooked breast of lamb with pearl barley and really enjoyed it. At the end of that post I asked if anyone could come up with a slow cooked pork dish and I have been inundated with responses (okay I'm fibbing - just the one, who wins a pot of red Thai curry paste). An absoloute gem of a dish has been given to me by Adam Benney and although I have adapted it slightly it is a bright, aromatic dish that fills the house with the smells of south east Asia.

Again I am using my slow cooker but a casserole or large pan will do on the hob or in the oven. The secret is to use an economical cut such as shoulder, which I bought on my early morning trip to Swansea market yesterday at Hugh Phillips butchers, and to cook it for hours in an aromatic bath.

I am deeply attached to European winter staples such as cawl, carbonnade of beef or a French daube but sometimes you want a dish that is bright, stimulating and lively but one that is just as easy to make. Honestly, this dish requires such little effort so it is perfect for a Sunday lunch, where you wait for its magic to happen while you read the papers.

I have been slightly more economical by making two dishes from one. The first is a very slight adaptation of Adam's original and the second a 'leftovers' dish. The only real difference I have made is to make more of the cooking liquor in wich you cook the pork and you are left with a stock that will do for a pork noodle soup on Monday. I have pretty much copied Adam's recipe verbatim but altered the stock and the quantities for the dipping sauce you can adjust to your taste as I have done. Chúc ngon miệng

Adam Benney's Vietnamese slow cooked pork with Noodles

Trim excess fat from shoulder and immerse in water/stock . Add 1 to 2 chopped lemongrass stalks, some lime leaf, then sugar and fish sauce to taste. As I said earlier I adapted this part slightly by adding 1 whole chilli, 1 lime, squeezed, 4 pieces of stem ginger and 2 cloves of garlic and I only added about 100ml of water. Cook away till meat is nice and crumbly and easy to shred!

When you're ready to eat stir fry some noodles and vegetables (pak choi, chinese lettuce, baby corn or whatever is on hand!) in garlic and ginger. (If using dried noodles soak in cold salted water for 15 minutes to hydrate.)

When ready put noodles into bowls and place some shredded pork on top.

Garnish with bean sprouts, spring onions and coriander and serve with a bowl of soy lime dipping sauce (recipe below)

Pound a garlic clove, 2 birds eye chillies and 2 1/2 tbls sugar into a paste. Add 1/3 cup of light soy sauce, 2 1/2 tbls of lime juice (with pulp) and water to taste ( approx 1/4 cup)
Stir, and enjoy! (keeps for 3 weeks in fridge)

If you don't use too much water with the pork the liquid should reduce and thicken nicely - use this sauce to moisten the noodles to your liking.
If you're not slow cooking poaching works just as well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes then take of the heat, keep covered and allow to poach for as long as you wish - nice!

Strain and keep the cooking liquor and use it as a base to make a pork noodle soup with the leftovers that you should have.

Ok I loved doing this so how about any suggestions for an authentic Chilli con carne that can be slow cooked?

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