Sunday, June 12, 2016

Pork Belly Hotpot

Hotpot! Yummy, yummy, hotpot. This is my favorite go-to dish for those busy days. I love that you can toss it in a crock pot in the morning and when you come home you can finish off and have a yummy meal. While it is time consuming, it is not work. The time is all passive, mostly just cooking the pork as a slow braise. And, I see a lot of crock pot meals coming up in my life soon!  I'm taking a coding bootcamp - wish me luck!

I first found this recipe in The River Cottage Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  Thanks to Ron for providing the book to my honey!  It has been amazing. Admittedly I still cannot follow a recipe for the life of me... but Hugh makes it hard to muck up a meal.  Let's put it this way, I always come out with a great result  - no matter my random swap of ingredients.


Originally from Mongolia, Mongol horsemen brought the concept through out Asia and each ethnicity adapted the hotpot to their own version. Hotpot is also known as: Sukiyaki (Japan), Shabu-shabu (Japan and Taiwan), Thai suki (Thailand), etc. Basically a stew with protein and vegetables which is spooned over noodles or rice. You can make it your own by swapping out the pork for beef or chicken or tofu (but then you don't need to braise it). This might be hard to make vegan or vegetarian but I'm sure that Google will help you with a vegetarian hotpot as I'm not sure how many additional spices you would need to create the Umami that the pork belly provides.



Pork Belly Hotpot

Braising
  • 1.5 kg pork belly with rind on
  • 1.5 litre water or stock (pork or chicken)
  • 5 spring onions, rough cut
  • 100 ml soy sauce or tamari
  • 75 ml Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 star anise
  • 10 cm piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
Finishing
  • 7 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch bok choy, sliced (optional)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 8 oz cabbage, thinly sliced (optional)
  • cooked rice or noodles

Directions
  1. Bring pot of water to boil. The water should be enough to cover the pork. 
  2. Remove bones from the pork belly and cut into rectangular chunks, about 2.5 x 5 cm
  3. Add pork belly to hot water pot and bring back to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off the scum that rises to the surface. Then drain through a colander.
  4. In a pot, bring the 1.5 litre of water/stock to boil.
  5. Add all the braising ingredients and pork.
  6. Reduce heat, cover tightly and simmer very slowly for about 2 hours, turning the meat occasionally. Until the pork is very tender. * This step can be done in the crockpot
  7. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain the braising liquid.
  8. Reduce the braising liquid. it should be lightly syrupy.
  9. If using optional finishing ingredients, stir fry quickly and add to reduced braising liquid. Add spring onions.
  10. In individual bowls, place rice or noodles as the base then top with hotpot. Serve.
Notes:
  • Tamari is an wheat free alternative for soy sauce.
  • Optional vegetables, can be almost anything. Just make sure to only select one or two options and slice thinly so as not to over power the dish. You really want the pork to be the main event.
  • Crockpot directions: follow above directions on stove until step 5. Once stock has come to boil, put all the ingredients into the crock pot and place on low. Make sure to cut the pork so that the braising time in the crock pot does not disintegrate the pork. So, the longer you plan for it to be in the crockpot, the larger the size of the pork pieces.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sorrel. So lemony and nice.

We received sorrel in our CSA the past two weeks.   When googling it, I found a lot of really interesting recipes (and some cute boots - but those are not edible and the spelling was off). *grin*

Sorrel is a common herb in french cooking.  It looks a bit like a cross between, rocket and spinach.  It tastes a bit lemony and tart.  There were salad recipes which seemed interesting but I think the sorrel should be younger as everything listed it as a spring herb.  So, that was a no-go.

Then I found it!   Salmon in sorrel cream sauce.  So, we had sorrel, cream... but no fish.  Honey to the rescue, he went and picked up some great salmon from Dirk's  for my little project.  They also do a great smoked salmon.  So, if you are already there, you should pick some up and cook it up for a lovely Sunday brunch omelet.     Here is the recipe I started from and then moved on from there.  We had some potatoes already cooked up from when I made cottage pie the other day.  So, the side was potatoes with sorrel and chives.


Salmon with sorrel in cream sauce


  • Salmon 
  • 1/4 cup (or more) cream
  • 1/2 cup milk (because I was saving some cream for coffee tomorrow)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese - shredded
  • 1/2 cup sorrel, chiffon and chopped (because I don't like long pieces of leaves)
  • 1/8 cup onion (because I didn't have shallots - although I'm sure that would be good too)
  • butter (or a fat for cooking)
Start the cream sauce first: 
  1. In a reactive free pot,  put in fat and once hot add onions to brown
  2. toss in sorrel and cook down
  3. add milk and cream, stir and simmer
Start Salmon: cook until done

while salmon is cooking, keep stirring the cream sauce.  Once the salmon looks almost ready, add in the cheese.  Stir until incorporated.   Serve salmon with cream sauce.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Crockpot beef with tomatillo


The weather is getting colder and tomatillo's are in season.  I was looking for a dish that I could use up the beef stew meat I had put out to thaw and just stick in a crock pot to sort out later for dinner.   Google being my friend, I found a lot of dishes that seemed to fit my needs but didn't quite fit what I felt like eating.   I wanted something with a warm, Mexican and almost taco-esque feel to it.   So, I took a few different recipes and came up with this shredded beef with tomatillo recipe.  Also, I do not like the taste of onions after it has been in the crock pot all day.. so I do not put them during the cooking.  You are welcome to do so if the taste doesn't bother you. :)


Shredded Beef with Tomatillo

  • 1 to 1.5 pounds Stew meat 
  • 1 quart tomatillo puree (you can make this by blending tomatillo's in a blender)
  • 4 tomatillo's - quartered
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (give or take to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds (these were an accident, the plan was to put in coriander powder - but it was morning.  *grin*)
  • chili powder, to taste
Toss all the above into a crock pot in the morning and set on low. 

When you come home, separate the beef from the liquid.

  • 1 sliced onion 
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
In a pan, heat some oil/butter toss in the onion and brown. Add the liquid and simmer to desired thickness.  While sauce is thickening,  shred the beef.  I do this by hand, but you can use two forks.  Once the sauce is at the desired thickness, toss in the beef.  Stir.  Taste for salt.   Add cilantro.  

Serve.