Recipe: Spanish Pork with Olives
Another recipe, this time an adaptation of a Delia Smith recipe that I found some years ago and have adapted to give it more flavour (sorry Delia).
This is an easy, slow-cook dish that is best served with rice, although I have served it with baked jacket potatoes and a side salad can be a refreshing addition. Fresh, crusty bread is also great for mopping up the juices.
I use pork shoulder joints, but any pork meat that is good for slow cooking can be used. Pork loin just goes tough if cooked for too long, so avoid that.
- Cut up around 500 grammes of pork shoulder into even cubes of about 5cms.
- Finely chop up an onion and gently fry this in some olive oil; use a shallow pan with a lid that can go in the oven. Chop up a red pepper and add this to the pan, and finally chop up a clove of garlic and add this. You want to soften these ingredients rather than brown them. Remove these from the pan and then add the diced pork; season well with salt and pepper. It may be best to brown the pork in two batches otherwise it can take ages! You want the pork to start to turn brown, and then you can return the onion, pepper and garlic to the mix.
- Slosh in some red wine. As you will recall, I rarely measure anything, but I would say about a quarter of a bottle should go in. Now, add a chick stock cube or, if you are so organised you have home-made chicken stock hanging around, add some of this. I use stock cubes, and there is no shame in doing so.
- Get 3 or 4 medium/large tomatoes and slice them into quarters, removing the hard little core nearest the stalk. You need tasty toms for this recipe, and once quartered, add them to the pan. Throw in 2 bay leaves and if there doesn’t appear to be much liquid, you can always add a splash of water at this stage. If you are using a shallow pan, then the liquid wants t come about have way up the layer of pork chunks. The tomatoes will release a lot of liquid as they cook and it can all be reduced down at the end of cooking.
- Bring the lot to a gentle simmer and then place the lidded pan into a pre-heated oven (temperature around 150 degrees). Leave it for a couple of hours, cooking slowly. This is a dish that enjoys being cooked slowly at a low temperature so all the red wine and tomato juice and stock can get rich and delicious! The pork wants to be tender.
- Towards the end of your cooking time, take some pitted green olives (plain or stuffed work equally well) and slice them. Add these to the pan and then return the pan to the oven for a further 30 mins or so. Part of the joy of cooking these sorts of dishes is the regular tasting. Take it our every now and again and just check the flavour; you can then tweak to adjust as you go along.
- At the end of the cooking time, you will want to thicken the sauce. The easiest way is to use either cornflour or flour mixed wit some water and then add this paste to the pan and stir it in well. Cornflour, you will need a heaped teaspoon mixed with a small amount of cold water; flour you will need a heaped dessert spoonful. Return the pan to the oven to cook this through until you have a thick, shiny sauce. Remove the bay leaves and serve!
Tonight happens to be the start of a big weekend in the village; it is their Fiesta day, La Función de Saleres, and the bar has already been set up in the small village square alongside the stage. Everything kicks off at around 10pm and basically the party goes on until Sunday, so a hearty cena seems eminently sensible. We'll report back on the party.... CLICK HERE to read about the fiesta