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Caramelised Pork Belly with Asian Vegetables and Couscous

CARAMELISED PORK BELLY (OR SHOULDER) WITH ASIAN VEGETABLES AND COUSCOUS (4-6 PEOPLE )

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This recipe comes complements of Vietnamese cuisine, and when I first tasted it, I thought I had actually died and gone straight to heaven. Later, when I had calmed down, I thought it strange that we don't do the same in our own mainstream cooking, as it's easy to do and seriously yummy... For this recipe if Pork Belly is too fatty for you then use shoulder, or if you don't like pork, make it with some of that Wagyu Brisket we have been selling as that would also work well.


So here goes.......

PREP TIME:-  10 MINUTES
COOKING TIME: 50 minutes, plus marinade.

 
INGREDIENTS:- (for 4 to 6 people):

FOR THE PORK:  600g of Pork Belly, chopped into slices and then into 2 inch pieces. One can of Coconut Milk, 2 Tbsps of Fish Sauce, 1,5 Tbsps of Soya Sauce, Two Tbsps of Sugar, Brown if you have it, or Palm Sugar, then 300g of roughly chopped mushrooms, 10 crushed peppercorns, One fine red chilli, chopped and deseeded.

FOR THE COUSCOUS: say three cups of dry CousCous and three cups of water or veggie/chicken stock.

FOR THE ASIAN VEGETABLES: 1 x Tbsp of freshly grated ginger, 1 x Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped, Half a bunch of Bok Choy and the same of Choy Sum, then a Tbsp of Oyster Sauce and 2 finely chopped Garlic Cloves. Some Sesame Oil if you have it. 



METHOD: FOR THE PORK
In a small bowl mix together the Fish Sauce, Soya Sauce, the chopped Garlic, and a quarter of the Sugar, peppercorns and chilli. Leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour or so.

Now shake off the marinade from the meat and heat up some oil in a pan to smoky, and plunge the pork in it for a minute or so a side to brown and crisp up. Remove from the pan and put on a plate.

In a different frying pan, ̀£or clean the same one, put the sugar in it with a Tbsp of water, turn the heat on to medium/hot and allow the sugar to heat up and to slowly caramelise, taking care not to burn it as it can turn to black very quickly.Have your pork at the ready for when it turns to caramel and introduce the pork at that point, moving it around to get an even coating and again making sure the sugar doesn't burn. After 3 or 4 minutes, add the marinade mixture to the pork and cook for a few minutes to ensure the flavours are mixed up.
Then throw in the can of coconut milk, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes with a makeshift lid on, and then for a further 20 minutes with the lid off in order to reduce the liquid, so that it becomes all unctuous and gooey...at which point it is done...

FOR THE COUSCOUS
Place the CousCous in a bowl and add the boiling stock or water to it, then cover and leave for ten minutes, at which point it should be cooked. Add a knob of butter to fluff it up with a fork if desired. Remember you need equal parts of water/stock to the CousCous. You can add chopped Coriander, Mint and Lemon Juice if you wish.

FOR THE ASIAN VEGGIES: If you have a Wok, then use it, otherwise use your largest and deepest frying pan. When you are virtually ready to eat, heat up a little oil , preferably Sesame Oil, in the bottom of the pan, then add the aromatics, which in this case are the ginger, garlic and chilli, and cook for about 30 seconds on a high heat, then throw in the greens and stir around for a minute or so. Add the Oyster Sauce, and a Tbsp of water to the mix to help the veggies steam. The whole thing should not take more than 5 minutes.

TO SERVE: Warm up some plates, and put the pork on its own, ladling over some of the pork sauce onto the CousCous, and arranging the veggies at the side.

AND TO DRINK ? I'm afraid Vietnamese wine doesn't quite cut it here, so I'm going to go for something fresh such as a Sav Blanc or a Chenin mix.