Emiline of Sugar Plum is hosting a St Paddys Day Pub Crawl, and is inviting us all to come along. To join the fun, you only have to cook a sweet or savoury dish containing booze (it is, after all, a pub crawl!) and post about it by March 17th. There is contest to win a great prize if you are creative.
Unfortunately, I am not creative, and I am not in the running for the prize as I openly took inspiration from the greatness of others. However, I didn't want to miss out on the fun, so I am bringing along Cider Braised Pork with Beery Warm Potato Salad, both of which have a distinctly Irish flavour (although neither recipe was touted as such by its author). The booze that I used is as follows:
For the Cider Braised Pork, I turned to the great Stephanie Alexander and her seminal work, The Cooks Companion. To make this dish, you will need:
4 roughly chopped cloves garlic
1 clove garlic cut into slivers
~ 1.5kg pork neck
1 cup boozy apple cider (I used Magners, an Irish brand)
a roughly diced onion
2 roughly diced carrots
1 sprig rosemary
1 cup stock (I used beef stock)
a small knob of butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon mustard
salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Toss the slivered garlic clove in salt and pepper. Make small cuts on one side of the pork and insert a garlic sliver into each cut. Dry the pork's surface by patting with kitchen towel, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Bundle the pork into a rectangular parcel shape, garlic side in, and tie in place with kitchen string. (Make sure you don't use plastic string, otherwise you will have a Bridget Jones moment!!)
Brown the pork on all sides in a small amount of cooking oil in an ovenproof dish that has a lid (or just do what I did and use a frypan and subsequently transfer the browned meat to a casserole dish). Skim off any excess fat that cooks out of the meat. Once the pork has browned, pour the brandy and cider over the pork and into the pan over high heat, and toss in the onion, carrot, garlic, rosemary and stock. (Tip - Don't be too precious about how you cut up the veges, because you don't eat them - they are used for flavour only.) Once the liquid is boiling, remove the dish from the stovetop, cover the pork with baking paper, and cover the dish with the lid. Place the covered dish in the pre-heated oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is cooked through, turning the pork every 30 minutes during cooking to ensure even distribution of flavours.
Once the pork has finished cooking, lift it out of the dish, wrap it in foil and put it aside to rest while you make the gravy. Strain the pan juices, then add them to a pan with the knob of butter, the flour dissolved in enough water to make a smooth paste, and the mustard. (Stephanie directs you to make a roux with the flour and butter then add the other ingredients, but I stuff this up 100% of the time, including this time, so I find that the paste method works better for me.) Stir your gravy until it thickens and just reaches boiling point, then remove from the heat. Serve slices of pork drizzled with the gravy.
To accompany my pork, I made a beery warm potato sald, the recipe for which can be found here. I left the onions and parsley out, used white vinegar in the dressing, and of course, used Guinness in the dressing.
Both dishes were fantastic comfort food, and contained plenty of booze!
Thanks to Emiline for hosting this St Paddys Day pub crawl. Be sure to check out the other pub crawlers at Emiline's site here.