Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Three little Ginger Pigs went to the market . . .

I feel strongly about animal welfare and am interested in Free-range farming, so jumped at the chance to take part in a Butchery workshop at The Ginger Pig.

I’ve mentioned Gubbeen before and in the same breath I’ll mention The Ginger Pig, both share a passion and care for their animals, which is admirable. I choose free-range pork every time and urge you to do the same, it truly tastes better and is a win win for everyone, animals and humans alike. Our friendly Butcher explained the difference between stressed meat and good meat, stressed pork is very pale in colour or dark with red specks, which are capillaries dotting through the meat. Try to avoid these cuts. Three key points to share -

  1. Buy Free-range meat, where possible.
  2. For good crackling, lightly score skin all over and then rub in plenty of salt, leave for at least ten minutes, then wipe off excess liquid and place in a very hot oven for 20 minutes before reducing heat.
  3. Pork, like fish, is best fresh, and should be kept wrapped in paper in the fridge, to avoid stinky smells.

Now, I’ve had a special request from a lovely lady for a one-pot wonder. This recipe I’d like to share is one of my absolute favourites and coincidentally involves Pork accompanied by Prawns! Sea and land come together for a gastronomic taste explosion, that will warm you up on the coldest of days.

Surfers Stew
serves 4 generously - freeze left overs, great for an unexpected guest

boneless pork belly 500g, skin removed and cut into mouth-size chunks, ask your butcher to do this!
olive oil, 1tbs
unsmoked lardons, 200g cubed
medium onions, 2 roughly chopped
smoked paprika, 1 flat tbsp
chorizo sausage, 200g roughly chopped
anchovies 5
tinned tomatoes 1 tin
red wine 1/2 bottle - or vegetable stock 500 ml
flat leaf parsley, 1 large bunch roughly chopped
Black beluga lentils 250g
King prawns 8, peeled

HEAT oil in a large non-stick pan with a lid.
ADD pork belly and lardons, sear until browned all over.
THROW in garlic, onion and paprika, stir well and cook for a few minutes.
STIR in tinned tomatoes, chorizo, lentils and anchovies.
GRIND in a generous amount of black pepper, there is no need to add any salt.
SIMMER on a very gentle heat for two hours, half and hour more, even better.
STIR prawns, replace lid and leave to simmer for a further 5minutes.
BEFORE serving, stir in parsley and serve with your favourite crusty bread.
PORK never tasted so good!

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