Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I realise now that you can't see the pork very well in this photo, but it was shredded and sticky and very nice

Apart from bacon and sausages, I don't cook pork that much. I've never eaten it in a form that wasn't quite tough and a bit tasting-of-nothing and I was traumatised at about 13 while reading Alive that when cooked, people taste like pork. It put me right off.

But this slow-cook goulash recipe that I found in Jamie at Home, surrenders a shoulder or leg of pork to something totally edible, that doesn't have the mouthfeel of a Uruguayan rugby player.

Goulash, if you've never had it, is usually made with beef, I think, and is a rich, smoky thing made with a lot of peppers and tomatoes. Very autumnal and, I believe the word I'd use if I was a proper cookery writer and not just a half-educated, semi-psychotic, spiritual alcoholic is "fragrant".

I missed out so many ingredients in this that it hardly counts as Jamie's recipe any more. Below is the ghoulash as I made it, which worked excellently well and I was really pleased with it - if you want to get hold of the original recipe, it is very conveniently located on Jamie Oliver's excellent website, or on p.257 of Jamie At Home.

This takes three hours to cook, but it works.

For 2 very hungry people, or for 4 less hungry, with rice.

650g pork shoulder or leg, skin off, fat left on
2 sweet peppers, sliced
2 chillies, chopped (you can probably leave the seeds of one in - or both if you like. The 3-hour cooking time seems to knock the shite out of the seeds' heat)
2 red onions, finely sliced
1 heaped tablespoon smoked paprika
1 can plum tomatoes
1/2 a jar of grilled peppers in oil

for on top:
soured cream
chopped lemon zest
chopped flat parsley

1 Set the oven to 180C. Heat some oil in a deep casserole pan and score the fat on your pork in a criss-cross diamond shape. Season with salt and pepper. On a low-medium flame, cook the pork fat-side down for 15 minutes.

2 Remove from the pan and add the onions, chilli, paprika, a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat right down and cook for ten minutes until the onions are soft.  Add the sliced peppers, grilled peppers and tomatoes. Put the pork back into the pot - sort of wriggle it down in between the peppers and tomatoes - and pour in enough water to just cover the meat.

3 At this point I was going to add a tablespoon of cider vinegar but clean forgot. I wish I had, so you  might if you do this. Bring to the boil on the hob and then put in the oven for 3 hours with a lid on.

4 Wander off and do something else. Then come back about half an hour before it's ready and cook some rice, open a pot of soured cream and chop up some parsley and lemon zest.

5 When the pot comes out of the oven, attack the pork in the pot with two forks to shred the meat before serving.

Like all stews, this re-heats and freezes very well.

Eat and try not to think about planes crashing.

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