the other night was still quite chilly in beijing and i was wanting to eat something bursting with flavour as well as something a little spicy to take the chill away. i was feeling a cold coming on and i love eating spicy food when i have a cold.
one of my jamie oliver cook books has a recipe for this pork and chilli pepper goulash and i couldnt stop thinking about it. reading through the list of ingredients and the cooking methods, not only was it loaded with spicy goodness but it was also fairly simple to make. some of the ingredients listed are quite pricey in beijing and so i decided, since im trying to live on a sort of budget, that i would swap in some alternatives and it still worked out to be great.
the recipe called for a large lump of pork shoulder but when i went to the store they had two smaller pieces of pork that looked tempting so i bought them and when i got home i cut them into fist size lumps of pork so that the cooking time would be less – original recipe called for 3 hours but my belly was calling for 10 minutes :P. that would not be possible but i figured i could speed up the process of cooking slightly.
2kg pork shoulder off the bone, in one piece, skin off, fat left on – or two kg of stewing pork
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• olive oil
• 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
• 2 generously heaped tablespoons mild smoked paprika, plus a little extra for serving
• 2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
• a small bunch of fresh oregano – i used dried as i couldnt find fresh
• 5 bell peppers (use a mixture of colours)
• 1 x 400g tin of good-quality plum tomatoes
• 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 400g basmati or long-grain rice, washed
• zest of 1 lemon
• a small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
The recipe called for a jar of marinated peppers but they are not the cheapest here in Beijing so i decided to replace them with long green chilli peppers commonly used in Chinese cooking. I used 4 of them as i like spicy food.
This is an easy dish to make with the most time consuming part being the preparation. Once its in the oven you are free to go do your own thing.
preheat the oven to 180oC and then prepare all of the vegetables and spices so that the cooking process is quick and simple. Chop the onions and peppers and measure out the spices and other condiments.
I used my dutch oven for this dish and it was large enough and sturdy enough. Heat the dish over the hob and add a splash of olive oil. After washing the meat, season it with salt and pepper and place fat side down into the dish. turn the heat down to low and cook for about ten to fifteen minutes. this will be enough time to allow the meat and fat to releases its juices into the oil. Remove the pork from the pot and put it to one side.
While the pot is still heating add the onions, chilli, paprika, caraway seeds and oregano and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pot and let everything cook together for about ten to fifteen minutes. Add the sliced bell peppers and tinned tomatoes and then put the pork back into the pot. Pour water over everything until the meat is just covered and lastly add the red wine vinegar. Place the lid on the dutch oven and then place the dish in the pre-heated oven for one hour.
After an hour check the meat and see how tender it is. Place in the oven for a further hour and then check the meat again. As i didnt use a large pork shoulder for this, but rather stewing pork, two hours in the oven was enough to render the pork ready and easy to fall apart at the touch of a fork.
While the pork was cooking i prepared rice in the rice cooker to accompany the goulash.
at the last minute just before serving i added the lemon zest and flat leaf parsley to the goulash as the heat from the stew allows the fragrance from the lemon zest to escape and slightly flavour the stew.
serve large bowls of boiled rice topped with goulash and peppers and a drizzle of the sauce and then top with the parsley and enjoy.
I have to admit that i also enjoyed a door stop of bread to mop up the juices at the bottom of the bowl once the goulash was polished off and it was the perfect recipe to enjoy on a still rather chilly night in beijing.
have a try and let me know how you get on