Monday, 10 April 2017

Tea-Braised Pork

I often think I would like to do more cooking with tea, so when we succumbed to the lure of some very cheap pork roasts at the local grocery store I decide I would try braising some of it in a very smoky black tea. Lapsang Souchong is the most readily available smoky tea, but I used a tea I got at Ten Thousand Villages that was simply described as "Smoked". It was just fine for this purpose.

Given the strong flavours of the ingredients in the marinade, I expected to be able to pick them out easily in the finished dish. To my surprise though, I really couldn't. The meat just tasted intensely, deliciously, porky - I got the occasional zing of ginger, but otherwise it just tasted very rich.

6 to 8 servings
6 to 8 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Tea-Braised Pork

2 to 3 kilo (4 to 6 pound) pork shoulder roast
1 1/2 to 2 cups strongly brewed lapsang souchong
OR other very smoky tea
2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup sherry or mirin
6 to 8 slices fresh ginger

Trim off and discard much of the skin and fat from the roast, but leave the bone in. Place the pork in a deep roasting dish with a lid; it should be fairly snug but you do need room to get the marinade ingredients in.

Brew the tea. Meanwhile, pour the remaining ingredients over the pork, except the ginger slices which should get tucked under and in around it. Pour in the tea; 2 cups if you can get it in but a bit less is okay. Then add the tea ball or 2 tea bags that you used to brew the tea to the roasting pan and let it stay there right through cooking the roast. Put the cover on the roasting pan.

You can cook the roast right away, or marinate it in the fridge overnight as you prefer. To cook, put it in the oven and bring the heat up to 225°F. Remove the lid about halfway through the process. Cook for approximately 1 hour per pound, but expect that it may take a little longer. The meat should be falling apart when done, and the bone will pull right out. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

I like to cook this in advance; that gives time for it to cool down so I can remove the bone(s) and any remaining fat (and remove and discard the tea and ginger slices). Pull the meat apart (preferred) or slice, and reheat gently in the strained sauce. You can thicken the sauce or not with a little starch; I don't bother but I generally serve the meat with mashed potatoes or rice to soak it up.




Last year at this time I made Swedish Colcannon.

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