Warm Peppered Pig with Charred Pak Choi and Sprouting Broccoli Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a main meal
I embrace ingredients from around the world and try to incorporate cooking techniques or ingredients from other cuisines in my genre of cooking. We live in a multicultural society and some of us are fortunate enough to have travelled and visited other countries and continents too.
This recipe is one inspired by my many food shopping crusades to London, where I enjoy snooping around the streets and small shops of Brick Lane, China Town in Soho and Borough Market, to name but a few.
The pork is my version of the now very popular and fashionable pulled pork. If you’re not keen on spicy food, then I recommend that you tone down the pepper and chillies. Fresh peppercorns are amazing and if you are lucky enough to get hold of them I highly recommend that you give them a go – they are incredibly fragrant and immensely complex in flavour.
This dish is a main meal in itself and does not need anything to accompany, but you can serve some plain steamed rice with it to tone down the intensity a little, if you like. My preferred option is to leave room for a delicious pudding instead!
Ingredients & Method
For the peppered pig
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
- 10 fresh peppercorns
- 2 fresh Thai or bird’s eye chillies, seeded and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 70g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 200ml fresh apple juice
- 200ml cold water
- 1kg boneless pork shoulder
For the roasted Thai aubergines
- 4 Thai aubergines, left whole and washed (see Cook’s Note)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
For the charred pak choi and sprouting broccoli salad
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 4 heads of baby pak choi, trimmed and left whole
- 12 spears of purple sprouting broccoli, blanched, drained and chilled
- 200g beansprouts
- ½ bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
First prepare the peppered pig. Using a pestle and mortar, finely pound together the dried and fresh peppercorns, chillies and garlic, then transfer to a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients, apart from the pork. Rub some of this marinade all over the pork, then place the pork in a deep roasting tin and pour over the rest of the marinade. Cover with foil and chill in the fridge for 2 hours to allow the marinade to penetrate the meat.
Preheat the oven to 140°C/Gas Mark 1. Roast the pork in the oven (covered with foil) for 4 hours, turning it twice, until the meat is cooked, tender and shreds easily. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.
Meanwhile, prepare the roasted aubergines. Prick holes in the aubergines all over using a cocktail stick, then place on a large sheet of foil. Drizzle over the sesame oil, vinegar and mirin and season with salt and pepper. Fold and seal the foil around the aubergines to make a parcel, then place the parcel on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven alongside the pork for the last 1 hour of the cooking time.
Once the pork and aubergines are cooked, remove them from the oven and leave to rest for 30 minutes (cover the pork with foil before resting and leave the aubergines in their foil parcel to rest). Once rested, drain the marinade from the pork and reserve, then shred the meat using 2 forks.
In the meantime, for the pak choi and broccoli salad, heat the sesame oil in a wok over a high heat until hot. Add the pak choi and broccoli spears, along with salt and pepper, and stir-fry for 5–6 minutes until charred. Add the reserved marinade from the pork and reheat briefly until boiling, then transfer the charred vegetables to serving bowls and spoon over the hot marinade. Arrange the beansprouts, coriander, shredded pork and roasted aubergines on top. Serve warm.
Thai aubergines are available in some supermarkets or green grocers or in oriental or Chinese supermarkets. If you can’t find Thai aubergines, use baby aubergines instead.