Slow Cooked Asian Pulled Pork

pulledPorkTitle02

Pulled pork is one of my favourite American discoveries! But we haven’t ever made it at home before, so I did some searching and found a great looking recipe from the lads at SortedFood.  I tweaked it a little, to change some ingredients I wasn’t so keen on, and hubby and I tried making it this weekend. It was super easy and really tasty!

Ingredients:
3.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder (fat still on, for crackling)
225 ml apple juice
200 ml water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger (peeled, thinly sliced)
90 ml soy sauce
1.5 tbsp Chinese five spice
(original recipe added 2 birds eye chillies, we left them out but you could add them if you wanted to)
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Optional:
Bread rolls
Coleslaw

pulledPork01

1. Add the apple juice, water, soy sauce and Chinese five spice to your Crock Pot and mix well. Then add the minced garlic, and sliced fresh ginger and stir.

pulledPork02

2. Score the fat on the pork shoulder in a criss-cross pattern, then place the pork shoulder in the Crock Pot and mix it around (turning it over once or twice) to coat it in the sauce.

pulledPork03

3. Put the lid on and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours. Ours took 4 hours, a larger pork shoulder may take longer.  If you want to slow cook it in the oven, mix all the sauce ingredients and pork in an oven safe pot (with a lid) and cook for 4 hours at 160°C (325°F).

4. When it’s cooked, remove the pork from the Crock Pot and place on a tray (for shredding), carefully remove the scored fat and lie on a baking tray. Rub the fat with a bit of salt then cook in the oven at 200°C (400°F) until crispy.  I screwed up the crackling and it burnt…then I dropped it on the floor lol! So hopefully your crackling will be better than mine!

pulledPork05

5. Pour the sauce/juices through a sieve into a saucepan (discard the bits) and add the sugar and vinegar. Reduce on the stove until it is more sauce-like. This is the most time consuming part of the whole recipe. I also skimmed off some of the fat from the top of the sauce as it reduced.

pulledPork04

6. Shred the pork using two forks, or whatever method you prefer, then stir in the reduced sauce.

7. Serve on buns (with coleslaw), or however you like to eat pulled pork, and enjoy! This recipe had enough pork for at least 8 large rolls/sandwiches (and some left over).

pulledPork07

pulledPorkTitle01

This was so delicious and really easy to cook that we’ll definitely be doing it again! Only next time I’ll try not to screw up the crackling hehe.

I’ll be sharing this post on the Hearth & Soul Hop, be sure to check out other posts for more recipes to feed your soul 🙂

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

What an amazing surprise! I haven’t been around for a few weeks and today I find out that my Crock Pot Lamb Tagine was a featured recipe for the Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂  That was my first ever slow cooked meal, thank you for the feature and I hope everyone who tried it enjoys it as much as we did!  I’m definitely getting into doing more meals in the Crock Pot now. Easy, quick cooking is the only kind I really have the patience for, which is strange because I’ll do complicated, time consuming baking recipes happily.

But on to todays recipe 🙂

There are a lot of packet spice mixes I’ve used in the past for stews and the like, but I noticed recently there are several specifically for the Crock Pot – I’m not sure of the difference, other than the directions on the back. So I bought a few different ones to try, this was the first and both my husband and I really enjoyed the end result! I used McCormick BBQ Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Seasoning Mix 🙂

Ingredients:
3 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast, trimmed (mine had a bone in it and it still came out ok)
1 packet McCormick BBQ Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Seasoning Mix
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce.

2. I scored the top of my pork joint to allow the sauce to really get into the meat and the fat. Place the pork in the Crock Pot.

3. Pour over the sauce, covering the pork evenly. I used the back of my spoon to rub it in a little as I poured.

4. I cooked it for 4 hours on HIGH. Alternatively, you could cook for 8 hours on LOW.

5. Shred the pork with 2 forks. I put the shredded pork back in the Crock Pot to mix it with the sauce…and may have eaten a few stray pieces along the way 😉

6. Enjoy! 🙂

We served ours on some fresh crusty bread rolls, with potato salad and coleslaw, and the pork was really delicious! I’m definitely going to be cooking it again, but this time I’ll make sure my pork is boneless. It was fine to cook with the bone in, but not as easy to shred.

This is my post for this week’s Hearth & Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there this week, and follow my blog for more tasty treats!

Chinese New Year: Char Siu Bao (pork buns)

I love char siu bao! In fact, I’m sitting here eating some while I type out this recipe 🙂 The soft fluffy dough and sweet pork filling make these buns one of my favourites and something I always come home with from Chinese supermarkets!

With that in mind, I decided to make some from scratch for Chinese New Year. I have to admit, when I went to get the ingredients I did buy a packet of dough mixture (so I only had to add water and oil) instead of doing that from scratch. But I’ve been cooking pretty much non-stop so decided it wasn’t cheating…too much! I’ve put the full dough recipe here though and will use it the next time I make some…which will probably be next week knowing me hehe.

Makes: 12
Preparation time: 25 minutes (plus 3 hours proving time for the dough)

Dough
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
310 g (11 oz / 1 1/2 cups) plain flour (all-purpose flour)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Filling
Ingredients:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
250 g (9 oz) Chinese barbecued pork, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce

1. To make the dough, pour 250 ml (9 fl oz / 1 cup) of warm water into a small bowl and add the sugar. Stir for a few seconds to dissolve the sugar then add the yeast. Cover the bowl and leave for 10 minutes.

2. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture and vegetable oil into the well. Quickly stir the ingredients together and turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Brush a large bowl with the sesame oil and put the dough in the bowl, turning the dough around to coat it all with the oil. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise for at least 3 hours.

3. Lift the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch the dough down and flatten into a large round. Sprinkle the baking powder in the center of the circle, bringing the edges up towards the center. Firmly press the edges together, then knead the dough for a further 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and roll into balls. Cover with a damp cloth to prevent them from drying out.

4. To make the filling, heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the pork and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the oyster sauce, sugar, rice wine, sesame oil and soy sauce and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.

5. Take each ball of dough and press it onto a lightly floured surface to form a circle 12 cm (4 1/2 inches) in diameter. Place a heaped tablespoon of the filling in the center of each dough circle, then bring the edges up to the center. Press the edges firmly together. Sit each bun on a 5 cm (2 inch) square of baking paper.

6. Place six pork buns on each layer of a double steamer (our steamer is smaller so we only had 3 on each layer) and cover with a lid. Sit the steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water (the steamer shouldn’t touch the water) and steam for 15 minutes.

Serve warm and enjoy! 🙂

Chinese New Year: Siu Mai (pork and prawn dumplings)

Even though I’m not Chinese, and don’t have any Chinese heritage as far as I’m aware, we’ve celebrated Chinese New Year for as far back as I can remember 🙂 I pretty much grew up on dim sum – every week when families would go out for a traditional English Sunday roast lunch, mine would go out for traditional Cantonese cooking. I adore dim sum.

In a way, it kind of gave my family more of a sense of community. The restaurant we went to, Chung Ying Garden, always had such a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. Everyone was enjoying themselves with good food and good company. Today I think that a lot of families don’t spend that kind of quality time together; they don’t all come together over enjoyable and healthy food, which is quite sad.

I still go to the Chung Ying Garden, with family but also with friends 🙂 I’ve had the majority of celebrations in my life taking place at that restaurant!

When I was younger, we used to go there every year for Chinese New Year. We’d have great food and then venture out to where the Chinese dragons and lions dance. I find that the December 31st/January 1st New Year seems less about celebration of the year ahead, less about community and joy between friends and family, so I’ve always enjoyed the colours and energy at Chinese New Year 🙂 There is a serious element too, because the dragon has a challenge of knocking down a cabbage that is strung up high. If he misses or doesn’t knock it down then that means bad luck for the coming year.

So, with thought of family in mind my Mom and I are doing things a bit different this year due to me moving country soon. We decided to get out all of our recipe books and make the Cantonese food we love 🙂 I’ll be putting several recipes up so be sure to check back for more great (and easy!) New Year recipes!

This recipe is for one of my all time favourite dim sum, siu mai (pork and prawn dumplings). I’m getting hungry just thinking about them! Oh, for all you American’s out there, prawns = shrimp 🙂

Siu Mai (pork and prawn dumplings)

Makes: 24
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
300 g (10 1/2 oz) minced (ground) pork
300 g (10 1/2 oz) minced (ground) prawns (shrimp)
3 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
60 g (2 1/4 oz / 1/3 cup) chopped water chestnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar
24 won ton wrappers

You can make these without the prawns, just double the amount of pork! Or, vice versa 🙂

1. To make the filling, put the pork and prawn meat, spring onion, water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce and sugar in a large non-metallic bowl and combine well.

2. Working with one wrapper at a time, place a heaped tablespoon of filling in the centre of the wrapper. Bring the sides up around the outside, forming pleats to firmly encase the filling – the top of the dumpling should be exposed. Pinch together to enclose the bottom of the filling, then cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling to make 24 in total.

3. Line a large steamer with baking paper and punch with holes. Place the dumplings on top in a single layer, making sure they don’t tough each other. Cover with a lid. Sit the steamer over a wok or saucepan of boiling water and steam for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through. The water should not touch the steamer.

4. Serve the dumplings, while still hot, with whatever sauce you prefer! Soy sauce, chilli sauce, or sweet chilli all work very well.

Enjoy with friends and family 🙂

This will be my post for this week’s Hearth and Soul Blog Hop 🙂 Be sure to check out the other recipes on there and to follow my blog for more tasty treats! More Chinese New Year recipes to come tomorrow 🙂