Something New- Pork n Pears (with bonus apache potatoes)

Hello, and a Happy New Year to you all. Yes, I’ve not been blogging, sue me if you wish and feel free to make up a more exciting reason for this than “I’ve been pretty knackered since the beginning of December”.

Less knackered now though, and ready to share a bit of a double whammy dinner idea for those still interested in my now out of date new years resolution from 2013 to do more, and thus eat more, New Stuff.

A pork n pear dinner with various veg and some luverly spuds
A pork n pear dinner with various veg and some luverly spuds

Christmas came and went, gifts were exchanged and much turkey was eaten. Hurrah. Cut to January and everyone is broke, cold and nursing the bitter comedown from tinsel wrapped heights of the festive season to the cold, soiled basement level of Being Back To Normal. Horrors. My significant other and I were due a night in with the younger female in law and dinner was on us. A quick trip to Morrisons came up with a bargain bundle of pork shoulder and some quirky looking potatoes and some kind of stew idea began to form. The boy picked up a big bag of slightly worse for wear pears in the yellow sticker vulture’s corner of cut price delights. Hmm. Pears. I’ve made pork with plums before and we all know pork and apples do the trick. Why not, what’s the worst that could happen?

Apache potatoes, get some if you can and don't mess with them too much.
Apache potatoes, get some if you can and don’t mess with them too much.

I’ll start with the apache potatoes, little bundles of red and golden skinned spuds- sorry, they aren’t pink on the inside unfortunately! What they are on the inside was incredibly buttery and smooth- very tasty indeed and on the seriously simple end of the preparation scale. Gentle scrub, 5 minute blanch whole in boiling salted water then into a medium hot oven with a drizzle of olive oil to roast for about 40 minutes. One might immediately consider how good they may be if slant cut and done in hot goose fat but to be honest, it’s not necessary. Their buttery finish isn’t over powering so too much crisping could take away that subtle pleasantry. We love apache potatoes.

Moving on, I give you the full method for a very easy, warm and satisfying comfort dinner, packed with protein and one of your five a day with an optional adaptable heat kick. Really tasty, though not desperately photogenic! With a possible third point for new stuff as my dining companions had never before had a braised lettuce.


Boom Boom Stewed Pork n Pears

Serves 3
700g pork shoulder, roughly cubed
4 well ripe pears- cored and stalks removed but do not peel.
Fresh ginger
Fresh red chillies
1 star anise

Heat up a small amount of olive oil in a heavy based frying pan or saucepan with a lid. For your spicing you now need to choose how hot you want it- I like warmth rather than heat and am a big fan of ginger so a 2 inch piece of ginger (grated) and two chillies (one deseeded) did the job for me. Keep in the chilli seeds or add another for the spicier palate or lose the seeds from both to keep it mild.
Add the ginger and chillies to the pan and stir well before then adding the pork and cook for a couple of minutes, moving the meat until sealed on all sides.

Roughly chop the pears and add to the pan with one tablespoon of water (don’t be tempted to add more, there will be plenty of liquid released from the fruit). Stir well,  turn down to a very slow simmer then cover and cook for ten minutes. Now throw in the star anise and go away and think about what you are doing with your life, where your career is going and what ever happened to the cast of Eldorado.

Check the mix and stir gently every 15 minutes or so and cook for at least an hour until the pork is very tender and the pear pieces fully disintegrated down into a sauce.

Serve with roasted veg and braised little gem lettuce and a big glass of red to enjoy on the sofa. Hurrah.

an ideal accompaniment for this meal- simply wash and halve a little gem then braise swiftly in a little olive oil in a hot pan
an ideal accompaniment for this meal- simply wash and halve a little gem then braise swiftly in a little olive oil in a hot pan

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