Posts Tagged: slow cooking


27
Apr 10

The perfect poach

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Poaching is a wonderfully delicate, gentle and subtle method of cooking. A poached egg is a luxurious, melting treat – breaking into one and watching its golden, silky yolk flowing across a piece of buttered toast is as close to food perfection as one can get. A scattering of sea salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill are all the garnish this plate needs.

Poaching is a great way to cook fruit too – their flavour is sweetened, their flesh softened, taking even the hardiest of ripen-at-home fruits and turning it into a fragrant and luscious pudding. Vanilla flecked thick Greek yogurt makes an ideal accompaniment.

Rhubarb seems to lend itself best to a very gentle poach. I’m sure London’s top chefs would cook it sous-vide (in a temperature controlled water bath) for hours on a very low heat. For me though, a fairly weak sugar syrup (1 part sugar to 8 parts water) is all that is called for. Finger-length pieces swim around over a very low flame, cooking for maybe eight to ten minutes.

A gentle turn half way through to ensure even cooking, then I spoon them out of the liquor before cranking up the heat and reducing the syrup to a quarter of its volume or so. I remove it from the heat, add a splash of Prosecco and spoon it over the rhubarb before serving it alongside one of my favourite puddings -caramel panna cottas.

A final sprinkle of some crushed Amaretti biscuits is all that is needed to give the final dish some contrasting crunch to go with the perfectly cooked rhubarb.


7
May 09

Taking it slow – ten hour roast pork

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Patience is a virtue and no more so is this evident than in a ten-hour roast. This recipe is both tantalising and torturous. It’s a gem. I’m a huge fan of slow-cooking, braising or roasting on a very low temperature. It requires patience, the ability to wait and not pick, not turn the oven up and just leave things, as your house fills with the most incredible of aromas.

This kind of cooking is normally associated with winter months; casseroles and stews, perked up with root vegetables and served with great mounds of buttery mash. Slow-roasting, though, is perfectly suited to the warmer times too. Swap the potatoes for flat breads or pitta, pulling meat from bone and loading the breads up with pickled chillies, yogurt and salads. This ten-hour pork is’definitely one for the weekend as you’ll need to get it in the oven first thing. You’ll wish you could bottle up the scent too – rich and delicious and more-ish.

The sauce that accompanies this is one they serve at the Gaucho restaurants in London. It was taught to me by my great friend Ryan. It’s a slightly fiery sauce usually served with prawns but it’s also perfect for a barbecue or with a joint like this. Use a larger joint to leave lots of leftovers – perfect for topping pizzas, folding through pasta sauces or salads, or for a fantastic sandwich filling.

Because of the low cooking temperature and the fat in the meat, it won’t dry out during the cooking process

Ten-hour roast pork with a red pepper sauce

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

•    2kg piece of rolled boned pork shoulder or leg, skin on
•    Glass of white wine or water

For the sauce

•    2 red pepper
•    6 tomatoes
•    2 red onion
•    Juice of 2 oranges
•    Tabasco, to taste

Method

Make the sauce the day before to save time. Cut the peppers into strips and deseed. Add these to a roasting tray along with the halved tomatoes and quartered red onions. Drizzle with a little olive oil and roast at 180 °C for around 30-40 minutes until tinged with black at the edges. Add them to a blender once cooled slightly with the juice of the oranges, salt and pepper and blitz. The amount of Tabasco you add is up to you. A few drops for a very mild heat, to plenty if you are a fire-eater. Set aside and cover until you are ready to use. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.

For the pork, pre-heat the oven to 230 °C. Place the pork on a roasting tray and cook for half an hour before turning the heat down to 130 °C. After 8 hours add a glass of wine or water to the tray.

After 10 hours, remove the pork from the oven. Pre-heat your grill and place the pork under this for a few minutes to crisp up the crackling. Remove the pork from the grill when the skin starts to puff and crisp.

Serve the pork with the sauce and flatbreads or pitta and salad on the side.

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