Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why not Pork?

Pork is, I believe, a somewhat overlooked meat.  We are always trying to find the next perfect chicken or beef dish and end up eating our old time favourites over and over again, albeit with a new twist we found to add from someone else's recipe.  So, I've decided to shake it up a bit for you and blog on a fantastic dish my mum used to make with many of my favourite ingredients....This is a great slow cooker recipe or something that you can put in a caserole dish and pop into the oven in 25-30 mins with great results.

So, to our ingredients and step by step method....

Middle East Pork with Apricots

50g Dried Apricots 
250ml dry cider
600g pork steak or pieces
oil for frying
1 small onion
25g flour
70ml chicken stock
juice of 1 orange
50g raisins
1 Tbsp. soft brown sugar
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 bay leaf

1 Soak apricots in cider overnight (OR... like I did, soak Apricots first whilst you cook meat etc - approx 30mins - 1  hr and it was just fine!)

Cut Pork into 2cm cubes - I used pork chops/loins off the bone - find a cheap pork cut and just make sure it's chunky enough for stewing or cutting into cubes and it'll be fine... )

3 Heat oil until it's very hot and fry cubes of pork
4 Remove, drain off fat, leavig approx 1 tablespoon in the pan
5 Chop onion and fry in pan with remaining fat.

Now.... PORK STOCK.... because I used a cut of pork that had lots of fat and end bits, I decided to make my own stock from that instead of using pre-made Chicken or Beef Stock.... Why? Well, if you can make the stock you need from the ingredients already in the dish, then you will maintain a better flavour throughout - it will typically be bolder and blend better with your dish.

So... "How to..."

This recipe calls for approx 70ml chicken stock.  Since you will need to boil the water to make stock, account on adding at least 2 times the amount of that stock needed (i.e. here it will be 2 x 70mls) in water measure to the pan.


1) Heat approx 150- 200ml water to a pan, adding remaining fat from meat cuts. 
2) Peel your onions for main dish prep. and excluding the outter tough or papery skins (the skins I'm pointing to in the picture below should give you a good idea!), add other brownish/dark yellow skins to pan of water.  
3) Leave to boil together for 5-10mins or until water turns a nice golden-brown colour.
4) Remove pan from the heat, drain stock into a measuring jug, removing onion skins and bits of fat and voila! now you have your stock!

Now, back to the main recipe...

6 To your fried onions, add flour and curry powder and cook over medium heat for 1 min

7 Gradually blend in stock
8 Remove from heat, add your meat, garlic, apricots, sugar, curry powder, juice and your bay leaf (which I picked fresh from the garden though the dried leaves work just fine too)

9 Place mixture in caserole dish (or slow cooker for approx. 1 hour or until meat is nicely tender)
10 Heat in oven Gas 5/ 375 F/ 190 degrees C for 25-30 mins


Now, my husband declares that this is not in his top 10 and I'll agree that it's not high class cuisine however, like I said before - we all crave something a little different and I believe the combination of flavours here gives us just that.  It's certainly a great dish and very delicious served with some sticky rice (or nice healthy brown rice)...a notch above stew and a worthy contender to stand right alongside our old favourites like spaghetti bolognese, Middle Eastern Pork with Apricots will not disappoint!

Did I make a mess? Of course - Clutter really is creative!  My #1 rule is that there's always another great song to clean up to....

... Until next time, happy tasting!

1 comment:

  1. I'm just reading these last few posts (our weekend was busy busy) and might I say your cooking and writing are delightful! DO keep the posts coming :)

    Love you!