These two recipes are equally easy to prepare, both using the very old and failsafe cooking method of sear-and-simmer. Impossible to go wrong - as long as you allow the meat plenty of time in the pot. So, relax; unwind. You cannot rush slow cooking.
Frogblog Tip: For all stovetop slow cooking, use a saucepan with good heavy base and well-fitting lid. A saucepan of thin steel, such as a soup pot, makes it difficult to maintain a slow simmer necessary for tenderness. Match the pot to the size of the meat. Small piece of meat/small pot, so that less water is required, resulting in a richer fuller flavour for the finished dish.
POT ROAST VEAL and VEGETABLES with lemon zest and spices
Serves 4 - 6.
Time: 10 minutes preparation; 1½ -2 hours stovetop; 6 hours slow cooker.
You will need: Heavy cooking pot with lid; cutting board and sharp knife; grater; lemon squeezer; wooden spoon.
2 large onions, roughly chopped
Double-handful cherry tomatoes or 400 gm can chopped tomato
1 red or green capsicum/bell pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp coarsely grated lemon rind
2 tsp garam masala, or 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp salt (½ tsp if using canned tomato)
2 - 4 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Enough root vegetable for as many people as you wish to feed (as a guide - ½ large carrot per person, medium potato per person, 1 piece parsnip/turnip … etc), roughly chopped into chunks.
Optional: 1 - 2 small hot chillies
1. Add everything to the pot with enough water to come just under halfway up.
2. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer 2 - 2½ hours or until meat is tender. Serve.
1. Trim any excess fat from the meat.
2. Heat a good splash of olive oil in the pot and sear two sides of the meat on high heat until well browned (5 minutes at least before lifting or turning to the second side). If some fat remains on meat, place the fat-side down first.
3. While meat is browning, add roughly chopped onion and brown off as well.
4. Add garlic, pepper, spice and lemon zest; stir up with the browned onion.
Note: If using a slow cooker or cooking in the oven, do this in a stove-top frying pan first then transfer browned meat and onion to the crock.
5. Place root vegetables (except potato) around the meat. Add herbs, any other vegetables and tomato. Lastly, place quartered potatoes on top (so they will steam rather than boil and won’t be as mushy). Sprinkle with salt.
6. Add lemon juice and just enough water to come a little under halfway up the pot.
7. Turn the heat to low for a slow cook, with the lid on.
8. Check after 1 hour, and give the vegetables a bit of a push around with a wooden spoon. They should now be sitting well into the cooking juices. Continue to cook until meat pierces easily with a sharp knife.
9. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit for 10 - 15 minutes before carving the meat to serve with crusty bread, rice, pasta or soft polenta.
Serves 4 - 6 as a side dish.
In a medium saucepan, bring to boil 4 cups water with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon fresh pepper. Reduce heat to low and, while stirring the pot, slowly pour in ¾ cup dry polenta. Keep stirring until polenta thickens (a few minutes) then put the lid on and continue to cook over very low heat for a further 10 minutes, stirring now and then. Add a little chopped parsley or coriander just before serving.
HOTPOT OF SHOULDER PORK with orange wedges and star-anise
Star-anise and juicy sun-ripened oranges were made for each other. Aniseed and citrus. Add some red chilli, and that combination means you’ll just have to rush out and kill a pig (or slip to the butcher and ask for a lean piece of shoulder pork with the bone in and the skin scored).
Time: 10 minutes preparation; 2 - 2½ hours slow cooking
You will need: You will need: Heavy cooking pot with lid; cutting board and sharp knife; grater; lemon squeezer; slotted spoon; deep bowl to put hot stock.
1.5 - 2 kg shoulder pork, skin on (a flat piece is better than a chunk)
2 onions, roughly chopped
1 orange cut into thin wedges, skin on
+ juice of 1 orange
6 whole star-anise
1 tsp Chinese 5-spice
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
2 rounded tsp sugar or honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 - 4 mild to hot red chillies, sliced into 4 lengthways
1 cup water
1. Trim excess fat from pork. If the fat under skin is thick, peel back the skin and remove fat, but keep the skin for the pot.
2. Heat pot over medium heat and add place pork in, flattest side down, to sear until well browned.
3. Add all other ingredients; turn pot to low and simmer 1 hour, lid on.
4. Carefully turn the pork after 1 hour, and continue to cook for further hour or until edge of meat easily pulls apart.
5. Lift pork from the pot to a plate, and drain most of the cooking liquor from the pot into a small deep bowl. Retain orange segments and onion to dress the pork when served.
6. Return pork to pot, with the heat off, to rest before carving.
7. Meanwhile, cook pasta or prepare couscous.
8. Carve or pull pork, according to your pork-eating tradition, and serve with crisp green vegetables.
Now, remember the cooking juices in the small deep bowl? Pop the bowl in the fridge to set the fat. Lift off and discard. The pork and orange jelly/aspic in the bowl can be served cold next day on a sandwich with sliced leftover meat. Or use as the liquor for a batch of aromatic couscous or steamed rice. Or - best of all - make…
1. Cook scrubbed unpeeled baby potatoes in the juice from the pork.
2. Cut potato into four pieces and simmer until soft.
3. To complete the dish, top with sliced hard boiled egg. Serve warm or cold.
Written and compiled by two frogs