Category Archives: Pork

Pork, Ginger And Coriander Dumplings With Garlic Chilli Oil

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I have to remind myself time-and-again to get the kids cooking in the kitchen. It’s too easy to fall into the pattern of – I can do it faster and cleaner – and weeks can go by before I realise they haven’t cooked a thing (apart from toast).

One of our most popular dinners are these pork and coriander dumplings. My ten year old in particular has taken a keen interest in homemade foods and declares that these dumplings are the best! Even better than the ones we eat out in Ashfield – the dumpling capital of the Inner West! (You’ve gotta love ten year olds for their biased enthusiasm).

Rolling dumplings is the perfect excuse to pull up a seat and sit with my son whilst we chat and prepare food together. I actually manage to get more than yes and no answers out of him and we both feel a sense of connection by the time the batch has been rolled. We get a production line going and I tell him once the dumplings are sealed he needs to shape the tops, reminiscent of the sails on the Opera House.

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It becomes an exciting week-night evening when dumplings are on the menu. My daughter takes great pride in setting the table. She lays out Asian placemats, chop sticks, tea cups, sometimes a candle is lit, and there is always a large pot of jasmine tea in the centre of the table.

The most important ingredient here is the pork mince. I only make dumplings when I go to my local butcher and get the pork freshly minced. So please don’t buy your mince from the supermarket, it’s often sat there for days with added preservatives to keep it going (and goodness knows what else other than pork has been minced through it too). Quality always comes at a cost, the cost of giving up convenience. But I am more than happy to do that when it comes to fresh food. And really, we all know free-range and fresh is best.

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Once you have the best mince you can get your hands on, you’ll need a dipping sauce. My preference is always to make a 50/50 mix of Chinese red vinegar with soy sauce, and them add measured amounts of my homemade chilli oil to that (recipe below). The chilli oil stores for weeks and can also be drizzled on all manner of other foods besides dumplings.

You’ll need a big bowl of steamed Asian greens, that I tend to quickly toss with fried garlic and a dash of oyster sauce. And if it’s your preference (sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t) some steamed rice.

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Pork, ginger and coriander dumplings with garlic chilli oil

For the dumplings 

450g free range pork mince

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp grated garlic

2 tbsp chopped coriander stem

1 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp Chinese red vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

1 free range egg

large pinch ground white pepper

30 (1 pkt) Gow gee wrappers (available in Asian food stores)

Dipping sauce

equal quantities of soy sauce and Chinese red vinegar

To serve

Steamed Asian greens

Chilli oil

Steamed rice – optional

Place all the ingredients for the pork and coriander dumplings except the gow gee wrappers a large bowl. Mix till well combined.

Lay out 6 gow gee wrappers on a clean bench. Dip a pastry brush in water and lightly wet the outer rim in a circular motion around the pastry.  Place less than a tbsp (more like two heaped tsp) of pork filling in the centre of each wrapper. Fold the wrapper over, and pinch to seal. Sit the base of the dumpling on the bench as you use both hands to crimp the top the pastry into a pinched pattern. Set aside on a clean tray and repeat process with remaining ingredients till all dumplings are rolled.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, gently add the dumplings and stir to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Boil for 3 – 4 minutes. Drain and place on a platter. Serve with dipping sauce, chilli oil (see recipe below), steamed greens and optional steamed rice.

For the chilli oil 

It’s important here to buy large dried chillies best found in Asian market stores. The larger ones are not as hot as the smaller variety and have a sweeter taste, perfect for this chilli oil.

20g (about 15) large dried red chillies

2 cloves garlic, grated

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup rice bran oil

Place the whole chillies in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain and squeeze remaining water from the chillies, roughly chop them and place in a small blender with the garlic, salt and half the oil, blitz till chilli is roughly chopped.

Pour the chilli oil into a small sauce pan, add the remaining oil and turn the heat to very low, cook the chilli oil on a low heat for at least one hour, stir occasionally. Set aside to cool. Store in a clean glass jar for 4-6 weeks.

Add a drizzle of the chilli oil to the soy and vinegar dipping sauce and lather the dumplings with this.

(C) Recipe and photography copyright 2016 Food From Michelle’s Kitchen

Pulled pork salad with green mango and mint

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If I had to choose my favourite cut of pork, and how I best liked to cook that cut, I’d choose a shoulder of pork. It would come from free-range-bred pork and it would be slow cooked in the oven for 3-4 hours on a roasting rack with a little cider, or beer, in the bottom of the pan, and covered with foil to keep it moist and trap the flavours in.

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This amazingly easy method of slow cooking the pork means the meat can be ‘pulled’ with just a gentle pry using two forks. I’ve written this recipe to ensure there is pork left over. If you’re to go to the trouble of having the oven on for 4 hours it’s best to have left over pork for making a fast yet delicious meal the next day. The salad will serve four people and will, at best, use half the pork.

 

The fresh ingredients that make the salad are just as wonderful as the pork. Finely sliced green mangoes (also known as Nam Doc Mai), Vietnamese perilla leaves, and fresh mint make for an Asian salad to reminisce, a salad that lingers long after the last mouth full is eaten. The sweet chilli and lime dressing gives a necessary balance and the fried shallots add the required crunchy texture. They can be purchased from any Asian grocery store and keep well in the pantry if sealed tightly.

 

I served a version of this salad for Christmas day, which included pork crackling and salt and pepper tofu but this is just as tasty and a little simpler to prepare. You might also consider stretching the salad a little further and feeding more people by adding a few handfuls of cooked chilled vermicelli noodles, and you can substitute coriander with the perilla leaves if they prove tricky to find.

 

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Pulled pork salad with green mango and mint 

Ingredients

2kg free range pork shoulder, bone out

3/4 cup cider or beer

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

2 Asian green mangoes (Nam doc mai)

1 bunch Vietnamese perilla leaves, washed and roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh common mint, washed

1/4 cup Fried shallots (available Asian stores)

For the dressing

4tbsp sweet chilli sauce

4tbsp soy sauce

4tbsp red Chinese vinegar

2tbsp sesame oil

2 limes, juiced

 

Pre heat oven to 250C. Leave a thin layer of fat on the top of pork and lay the pork on a roasting tray over a deep baking dish. Rub the pork lightly with oil and season well with sea salt and cracked black pepper on both sides. Place in hot oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 150C.  Pour cider into the bottom of pan, cover tightly with foil and place back in the oven to slow cook for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, remove pork and stand for 30 minutes. Use two forks to gently pull apart the pork.

Reserve the pan juices for the left over pork to reheat it with the juices the next day so it stays soft and succulent.

For the dressing whisk all ingredients in a small bowl till well combined.

Peel the skin from mangoes and slice thinly with a mandolin, or alternatively use a sharp knife, once mango is in slices use a knife to julienne (slice into thin match sticks). Place sliced mango in a bowl, add roughly chopped perilla leaves and whole mint leaves.

Place half the pulled pork in a bowl  (refrigerate remaining pork for another meal) and drizzle with 1/2 the dressing. Pour remaining dressing on salad and toss to combine. At this stage, lightly toss the pork with the salad, divide between four bowls, sprinkle with fried shallots and eat immediately.

 

 

Pork and fennel meatballs

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There’s a bakery here in Sydney called Bourke street bakery. It’s become an institution with Sydney siders for their excellent bread, yummy baked tarts, and their delicious sausage rolls. My favourite is the pork and fennel. And inspiration for this recipe comes from this excellent combination of pork mince and fennel seed. I love fennel seeds. For a tiny seed, they pack a punch of flavour.  A little heat helps release the aniseed taste, which disperses through the mince, and imparts a soft, sweet fennel flavour. If you’ve never experimented with them here’s your chance.

 

As you’ll see in the recipe, the meatballs are actually half pork mince and half veal mince. This is what the Italians use when making meatballs. This is the real thing. Now a word of advice. Don’t be tempted to  substitute the veal mince for beef mince. The flavour of beef mince just doesn’t compare. Also, buy your mince from a butcher not a supermarket. A butcher tends to grind their mince on a coarser setting than a supermarket does. Coarser ground mince is what you need for a good meatball.

 

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Yum, I’m getting hungry! On to the methodical task of rolling the meatballs. Next a fast red wine sauce, and a quick cooking time of about 15 minutes.When it’s time to eat, I serve them with fettuccine or linguini. But you could also serve them with mash potato, or if you’re feeling adventurous, and want to fancy up the meal, soft polenta with any steamed green would also be delicious. There’s no right or wrong way to serve them, as long as they’re hot and fresh and straight from the pan.

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Pork and fennel meatballs

For the meatballs

250g pork mince

250g veal mince

1 red onion, diced

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 cloves garlic, grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

For the sauce

¾ cup red wine

700g jar passata (see note below)

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp sugar

salt, pepper

Glug extra virgin olive oil

To serve

fettuccine or linguini

chopped parsley

 

Place both minces in a large bowl. Heat a small fry pan with 1 tbsp oil; add onions and fennel seeds and cook gently for 3 minutes. Place onions in bowl with mince; add garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper. Use your hands to squish and squeeze the mince till well combined. Roll meatballs into 2cm diameter balls and place on a tray.

 

 Place red wine in a medium pan and bring to the boil. Reduce by half. Add passatta, garlic, rosemary, sugar and extra virgin olive oil. Bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat.

 

 Heat a large fry pan with 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Place meatballs in pan and seal on all sides (3-4 minutes). Add red wine sauce to meatballs, cover with a lid and simmer meatballs gently in sauce for about 10 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, cook pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water till just al dente. Drain pasta. Divide between bowls, ladel meatballs on top of pasta and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

 

Note – Passata is a smooth, pureed tomato sauce. Keep a bottle stocked in the pantry at all times. It’s great for a quick pasta sauce.