Perfect Summertime Pulled Pork

Sweet, savoury and utterly delicious, this Pulled Pork recipe is a keeper! Perfect for preparing the day before a get-together or to store in your freezer for another occasion, it's sure to dish up the “wow” factor every time!

 Perfect Summertime Pulled Pork

Serves 10-12

 1 tbsp sea salt

5 tbsp dark brown sugar

Large pinch cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (anise seed can be substituted)

1 tbsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2.5-3kg boneless pork butt or shoulder

225g ketchup

115g dark molasses

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp high-quality liquid smoke, such as Stubs (optional)

1 tbsp mild mustard

2 tsp Tabasco sauce

120ml apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

170g white onion, finely minced

120g homemade or store-bought chicken stock, or water

225g BBQ sauce (with a smoky flavour, if you are not using liquid smoke)

 

Place your oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 150°C. Combine the salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, coriander, fennel seeds, paprika, cumin, and black pepper in a small bowl and mix until well combined. Season the pork with 4 tbsp of the spice mixture, making sure to rub it on all sides. Reserve the remaining spice mixture.

Whisk together the ketchup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), mustard, Tabasco, and half of the apple cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining spice mixture. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large casserole pot (Le Creuset style) over a medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until well browned on all sides. Pay close attention to the searing, as the pork will brown quickly due to the sugars. Do not let it burn! Add the onion and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until softened, for about 2 minutes.

Add half of the sauce mixture and the chicken stock or water. Place a piece of baking paper over the pork then cover it with a lid or aluminium foil. Transfer it to the oven and cook until the pork is just starting to turn tender, about 4 hours. Check mid-way to be sure that it hasn't gone dry – if it's close, add a little water. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about an hour longer, until a knife or fork shows very little resistance when twisted inside the meat and a dark crust has formed.

Transfer the pork to a large bowl, reserving the liquid in the pot. Using a ladle, skim off any excess fat and discard. Add the reserved sauce, half the BBQ sauce and remaining vinegar to the pot and whisk to combine. When the pork is cool enough to handle, shred it with two forks or put kitchen gloves on and do it by hand (my preferred method!).

Transfer the shredded pork to the pot and toss it with the sauce. (If you’re making this ahead to serve for several meals, portion out your sauce and pork separately to freeze. This allows you to combine the two once defrosted and will prevent your meat from losing its pulled texture) Check the seasoning and adjust to taste with more salt, sugar or cider vinegar. Serve with your favourite style of coleslaw, the remaining BBQ Sauce and your favourite soft bun.

 

 

 

 

 


Three Bean Chili Soup

This recipe is delicious and a fabulous meal on its own, especially when garnished and accompanied by an ice-cold Corona – perfect for a cold winter day, or when the sun is shining. Feel free to switch up the beans to any kind you prefer, as well as throw in any extra vegetables that might be left in your fridge. This soup can easily be adapted.

Three Bean Chili Soup
Serves 8

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2-3 celery ribs, finely chopped
4 onions, chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh green chili, chopped (you can add more if you want it really spicy!)
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
2dl hard cider
8dl vegetable broth (homemade or store-bought)
1 big can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
425g cooked black beans (home-cooked or canned from one 19 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
425g cooked pinto beans (home-cooked or canned from one 19 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
425g cooked dark red kidney beans (home-cooked or canned from one 19 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

To garnish (optional): diced red onion, diced avocado, grated cheese, diced tomato, chopped pickled jalapeños, sour cream, lime wedges, chopped coriander, plain salted tortilla chips

Add two tbsp of oil and the celery, onion and garlic to a large stock pot. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Stir in the fresh chili, chili powder, cumin, tomato paste, thyme, coriander, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
Pour in the cider, turn the heat up high, and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits, for about 2 minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the canned tomatoes and the vegetable broth and bring to a simmer.
Turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer for 10 minutes then add all the whole beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30-45 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, thin it with a little water.
Stir in the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with the garnishes.

Enjoy!


Delicate Vegetable Pavé

Elegant, delicious and the perfect pairing for any protein, a vegetable pavé is a great side dish to have in your repertoire. The key is to slice the vegetables as thinly as possible, using a mandoline for this task is highly recommended, just watch your fingers! Baked in the same fashion as its cousin 'the dauphinoise', this pavé should be cut in a rectangular shape to show off its colourful thin layers. The vegetables I use in this recipe can be changed for others, just apply the same technique. It is a dish best prepared several hours in advance, even the night before. Cooling it completely prior to cutting helps prevent the layers from slipping. The portions can be reheated simply by placing them on a lined baking tray and baking at 180°C for 5-10 minutes. My favourite pairing is seared scallops, both delicate in flavour, it makes for a beautiful light lunch or even an evening starter. Bon appétit!

Serves 4

1-2 sweet potatoes, peeled
1-2 firm potatoes, peeled
3 peppers (1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow) , roasted, seeded, peeled and cut into 4 pieces each
1 white turnip, peeled
1-2 courgettes
5dl heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of fresh thyme
white pepper and salt, to taste
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 x 3-inch (8cm) piece of fresh Parmesan, finely-grated
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 175°C. Completely butter the inside of a loaf pan, square pyrex or metal dish. Cut out a long piece of baking paper, it needs to hang over one side of the pan by at least 3 inches (8cm). Press the baking paper into the pan and butter the bottom and sides again. Set aside. In a saucepan, gently heat the heavy cream, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Bring to just under a simmer and remove to steep for 10 minutes. Taste.

You want the cream to be slightly salty. Strain. Using a mandoline or a very steady hand, slice as thinly as possible, the sweet potato, potato, courgette and turnip. Place them each in a separate bowl and evenly pour the cream over each one. Gently mix so that each slice of vegetable is coated with the cream.

Now begin to layer, starting with the potato. Be sure to slightly overlap each piece until the base of your dish is covered. Repeat. Crack a little pepper on the top then continue with the sweet potato. Place down two layers then sprinkle with a little parmesan and pepper. Next, add two layers of courgette. Top with a little parmesan and pepper. Now create the centre of the pavé by layering the roasted peppers, one colour at a time with a layer of white turnip in between. To finish the layering, repeat the sequence in reverse. So courgette, sweet potato then finish with potato.

Drizzle any remaining cream from the bowls on top of the pavé and finish with the last of the parmesan. Fold the overlapping parchment  over the top and weigh down with an ovenproof plate or ramekins. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a knife easily cuts through the layers. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into 4 portions. Reheat gently when ready to serve. Enjoy!