The Mixing Bowl: Cajun-spiced Pork
As you Northernites head into the colder months, the time to eat feasts that would appease the hunger of a pack of old Norse warriors arrives. However, all those delicious starchy tubers combined with beer will likely render you more lard than bard. You could drink less beer, of course, if you wanted to make an early self-appointed date with the noose, or on the other hand, you could make this awesome Cajun-spiced pulled pork & honey-mustard braised red cabbage to tide you over until Spring. [Warning: this article is quite picture heavy].
Today I’ve got the perfect meal for you carnivorous-types seeking the type of warmth that only the consumption of flesh can provide, and while not as quick to make as the Dumplings Ov Nihility I posted a couple of months back, it is still relatively simple as the oven does most of the work for you. The preparation time is about 15-20 minutes and the oven takes about 2 hours, so I usually do this one on a Sunday and reap the rewards for the next couple of days. This shit combined with a bread roll the next day is unbeatable, making this one pretty much my favourite meal these days. Anyway, here it is –
800g/2lbs Pork shoulder (with or without rind)
1 large onion (can be brown or red, will come out brown regardless)
3 cloves of garlic (chopped or crushed, it matters not)
4 chillis/jalepenos (green, red, whatever)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (non-apple vinegars need not apply)
½ cup tomato sauce/
ketchup (made from tomatoes)
3 tbsp barbeque sauce (made from uhh.. BBQs)
1 ½ cups of chicken stock (375ml/12.5 oz)
Pinch of ground coriander
Cooking oil (I use olive oil, Texans can substitute with engine)
2 tbsp of Cajun-spice mix (details below)
Cajun Spice Mix
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder (I don’t bother)
1 tsp garlic powder (I don’t bother)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme (yes, Stocky)
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Just buy some pre-made cajun-spice mix, you deadbeat.
1 red cabbage
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
3 tsp honey
1. Firstly, fire up your oven to somewhere near full blast, mine goes to 250°C/482°F. If your pork has a rind on it, cut this off, score it with a blade (if it hasn’t already been done at the butcher), rub some salt on it, then some oil, sprinkle some more salt on top and then place it on a lined/greased oven tray or rack. Put the rind into the oven.
2. Chop up one onion (save a spoonful), 3 cloves of garlic, 3 chillis and mix the vinegar through in a bowl. If you have a food processor, just throw them all in there are blend until about smooth. Stir through the sauces, spices and coriander. Set aside.
3. Cut the pork into 5cm/2″ pieces on a chopping board.
4. Heat a heavy casserole dish or frying pan over medium-high heat, add some oil and cook the pork until it is browned all over.
5. Add the spicy sauce you prepared before and once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir often.
6. After about 10 minutes (or when the onion looks soft), add the chicken stock. Season to your taste. Check rind.
7. Pour the pork + sauce mixture into an oven-proof dish that has a lid. Reduce the heat on the oven to 170°C/340°F and place the covered dish in the oven for about 2 hours.
After about 1 ½ hours you can begin to make the honey + mustard braised red cabbage.
1. Core the cabbage as I have shown in the pic then shred it or cut it up finely.
2. Cut up the onion and garlic and combine it with the cabbage, honey, mustard and vinegar in a saucepan with a dash of water. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 5 or until the liquid has pretty much all evaporated. The cabbage should have softened but still be somewhat crisp.
Once your cabbage is done, remove the pork from the oven and check that it will fall apart easily by poking it with
your tongue a fork. If it seems soft, use a slotted spoon to get the meat out of the sauce and place onto a chopping board. Shred it up with two forks or whatever you have available. Return it to the sauce and stir through.
Your crackling/rind should be done now too. Remove it and let it cool slightly. Then snap or cut it to size.
Remember that spoonful of onion and chilli you saved? Of course you don’t, you’ve had 2 hours of solid drinking/smoking. Chop up that last chilli and combine it with the onion you can’t find, to use for garnish.
Place the cabbage in a bowl, top with the pork + sauce and garnish. Serve with a side of crackling.
At least one of you bastards should post a picture of something resembling this meal, to show that you have attempted this, either here or on the group.
(Lizard image via)