Category: Cooking recipes


Recipe

Pork neck fillet (which is also known as collar) is a very forgiving cut that has plenty of fat running through it (if you can’t get hold of neck, use shoulder instead). The meat will really benefit if you can leave it in its marinade for two days, but four hours is the bare minimum. This is perfect served with boiled rice to soak up the sweet, sharp sauce.

Prep 20 min
Marinate 4 hr
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

100ml whisky
125ml fish sauce
150g soft light brown sugar
5 lemongrass stalks, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, then finely chopped
9cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg pork neck fillet
1½ tbsp vegetable oil, for grilling
1 lime, quartered

For the nam jim
80ml freshly squeezed orange juice (ie, from 2 oranges)

½ tbsp basmati rice
¾ tbsp pul biber (Turkish chilli flakes) (or half that amount normal chilli flakes), gently toasted
20g tamarind paste
40ml fish sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
5g coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the herb salad
150g red cabbage, or white cabbage, sliced radish or cucumber, finely shredded
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
5g mint leaves, roughly torn
5g coriander leaves

Put the whisky, fish sauce and sugar in a medium pan on a medium-high heat and gently warm for a few minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemongrass and ginger, turn off the heat and leave to cool completely.
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Cut the pork against the grain into four 12cm-long and 6cm-wide pieces, then cut away and discard any silverskin. Transfer the meat to a non-reactive container that is just big enough to hold all the pieces in one layer, then pour over the cooled marinade and make sure the pork is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Lift the pork from its container and dry well with kitchen towel (don’t discard the marinade; it can be frozen and used again for marinating; alternatively, cook it down and, once reduced, use to glaze, say, chicken drumsticks). Brush each piece with a little oil and set aside. Ventilate the kitchen and put a griddle pan on a medium-high heat. Once the pan is smoking hot, lay in the pork pieces (in batches if need be) and cook for four to five minutes on each side, until golden brown and nicely marked with char lines (turn down the heat a little if it looks like the meat is starting to burn).

Put the browned meat on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, and roast for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through, then remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

While the meat is cooking and resting, make the nam jim. Put the orange juice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat and simmer for about four minutes, until it’s reduced to about 60ml, then leave to cool a little.

At the same time, toast the rice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat for four to five minutes, until it starts to colour and smell nutty. Transfer the toasted rice to a spice grinder or mortar, add the chilli and blitz or pound to a coarse powder. Combine this with all the remaining ingredients for the nam jim and set aside.

Gently toss all the ingredients for the salad. Cut each piece of meat widthways into five, and serve warm with the herb salad, the nam jim poured over both of them and a lime wedge alongside.

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A really useful recipe is one which doesn’t tie you to specific ingredients, allowing you to substitute at will. This idea of cooking slices of squash in butter with a little vermouth and herbs can be tweaked according to whatever variety you have to hand, be it courgette, pumpkin, butternut or, as here, cute little patty pans. I suggest cobnuts here, but the new season’s hazelnuts would be good, too.

Serves 2 as a side dish
patty pan 400g, or other small squash
butter 35g
white vermouth 80ml
sage leaves 4
shell-on cobnuts a handful, or hazelnuts

If any of the patty pan squash are larger than a golf ball, cut them in half horizontally. Melt the butter in a shallow pan, add the vermouth then the patty pans. Drop in the sage leaves and sprinkle on a little salt. Cover with a lid, letting the squashes simmer in the wine and butter for about 20 minutes until tender to the point of a knife. Keep the heat fairly low, basting the vegetables regularly with the pan juices.

While the squashes cook, crack the cobnuts or hazelnuts and remove them from their shells. Add the nuts to the pan, grind over a little black pepper then serve, spooning over the buttery juices as you go.

The feta and beetroot marriage is a classic, but I have also used goat’s cheeses, marinating them in thick slices with olive oil, lemon juice and thyme and crumbled dried chilli. You need a cheese that has plenty of fresh, quite acidic notes to balance the sweetness of the creamed beetroot.

 

Makes 4 toasts
beetroot 400g
feta 200g
oregano leaves 1 tbsp
red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil 4 tbsp
bread for toasting 4 thick slices
a clove of garlic

Put a deep pan of water on to boil. Trim the beetroots but do not peel them. Try not to break the skin (it will leak juice into the cooking water otherwise). Boil the beetroots, depending on their size, for about 40 minutes. They are done when a skewer can be inserted into them with very little pressure.

Crumble the feta into small pieces, roughly 1cm in size, then put them in a small bowl. Put the oregano leaves in with the feta, pour over the vinegar and the olive oil.

Remove the beetroots from the water, cool them just enough to allow you to handle them, then slide off the skins. They will come away easily with a little pressure from your thumbs.

Cut the beetroots into large pieces, drop them into the bowl of a food processor then process them to a thick purée. Season with salt and black pepper, remembering that the feta is quite salty.

Toast the bread, either on a hot griddle or in the toaster. Cut the clove of garlic in half and then rub the cut side of one of the pieces over the toasted bread. Spoon on some of the beetroot purée, then some of the marinated feta.

This dish, usually found in the Alentejo, is made with our beloved grelos (turnip tops). It goes brilliantly with grilled meats or fish, but it is also delicious on its own.

(Serves 4-6)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus 4 tbsp to drizzle
1 small head of fennel, diced (with stalks and fronds)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, germs removed, finely chopped
Sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
250g long-grain rice, washed and drained
1 bunch of turnip tops, separated into stems and leaves, finely chopped
1.5l of light chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
Splash of white wine
Splash of brandy
Juice of one lemon
Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped
Shop-bought chilli oil (optional)

In a large, heavy-based pot with a lid, melt the butter with the oil, fennel, onion and garlic over low heat, stirring frequently. Season with salt and white pepper.

Once the ingredients are soft and translucent, add the rice and toast for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the stems from the turnip tops, raise the heat and continue to cook for another four minutes, still stirring (make sure the ingredients don’t start browning or burning).

Once the mix starts getting really fragrant, add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmering. Cover, just removing the lid to stir occasionally, and cook for about 15 minutes.

Add the chopped turnip tops, stir well, adjust the seasoning and continue to cook until the rice is a little al dente, but still in a thick broth consistency. Remove from the heat, add the wine, brandy, lemon juice, coriander and chilli oil, and a further adjustment of seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Stir and cover the pot away from the heat. Let it sit for about five minutes. Remove the lid, drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and serve in deep bowls with a nice piece of grilled fish or meat, if you like – but this dish works amazingly well by itself.