Usually, this blog serves two purposes. It provides a place for me to store recipes I like, otherwise they get scribbled on scraps of paper which get thrown away. Secondly, it’s a place which allows me to ramble on about whatever I fancy…before making a very tenuous link to the recipe, and getting on with some cooking.
Today though, dear readers, this post will only serve one purpose. I was up at five-something o’clock to get to Billingsgate fish market this morning, and I am TIRED. Honestly, absolutely done, I’m afraid.
Earlier this week though, I made this rather delicious and cheap recipe. I was very close to throwing away the scrap which had the amounts of liquid written on though. So I’m posting it before it disappears in a rare bout of cleaning.
Slow-cooked, one-pot dishes are amongst my favourites, particularly when friends come round. It means that I don’t have to worry about a single thing. This recipe is a sort of cross between pulled pork, and that lamb shank with pearl barley and kale recipe, which I’m still dreaming about.
Chucking in pearl barley at the end is so much easier than doing any kind of potatoes. It also has the dual purpose of thickening stew sauces a bit. And the grain takes on all the flavour of the juice its cooked in. Light and porky, apple-y and delicious.
Happily-Appley Pulled Pork Shoulder
1-1.5kg pork shoulder (ideally bone-in, skin-on)
8 shallots (the little round ones), peeled and halved
1 cooking apple, peeled and chopped into chunks
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled and gently pounded with heel of your hand
400ml chicken stock
250ml cider (not too sweet)
200ml ginger ale (not too sweet)
150g pearl barley
Salt and pepper, to season
Serve with buttered kale: My favourite way of cooking is to bring a few centimetres of water to a rapid boil in a frying pan, and add a couple of handfuls of kale. Give it a quick blast for 30 seconds or so, cooking it in both the water and steam. Strain. Put a generous chunk of butter into the same (now empty) pan. When it’s foaming, return the kale to the pan. Stir on the heat for another 20-30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
1. Place the pork shoulder in a casserole dish. Surround with the shallots, apples, bay leaves and the garlic cloves which have been gently-crushed with the heel of your hand, just enough to release the flavour, but not so much that the garlic clove loses its shape.
2. Mix the chicken stock, cider and ginger beer in a jug, and pour over the pork. Heat on a hob until the liquid reaches a gentle simmer. Put the lid on, and stick in a preheated oven at 150°C for 2.5 – 3 hours.
3. Rinse the pearl barley in a sieve. Add the grain to the liquid surrounding the pork , and return to the oven for another 40 minutes.
4. Ignore my photograph above. When it comes to serving, I think that a shallow pasta dish is far better than a plate. Use a knife and fork to pull away a generous portion of the pork, and then use a ladle to scoop up the shallot, garlic and apple-enriched juice, with a big portion of pearl barley to put next to it. Accompany with seasonal greens.