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19-10-2011, 06:30
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Thecurrent stretch to my cooking skills is sandwiches. I’m always too late to makebreakfast in the morning and I get home needing to lie down and sleep not standaround and cook. Sunday is now the day I get to spend in the kitchen. Needingto flex my over-relaxed culinary muscles, I wanted to cook something new. Asusual, I didn’t know what.

Itwas cold outside and I wanted something rich and filling but at the same time Iwanted it to be sweet and spicy. It also had to be a cure for a week ofdrinking far too much. I looked to see if I had any beers which I didn’t mindemptying into a saucepan – Founder’s Dirty Bastard (http://www.foundersbrewing.com/the-lineup/dirty-bastard) was dusted off and putbeside the oven. The inspiration came somewhere between a meat and ale stew andjerk pork: all the spices and flavours of jerk plus onions, stock and beer,slow-cooked so that it reduces into a sticky, spicy bowl of gut-warming dinner.

Takesome pork, preferably a fatty cut which can handle a few hours at 200C. Seasonsome flour with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, cayenne pepper and all spice.Dust the pork in flour and then seal in a hot pan. Remove and then add thicklycut onions or shallots. Soften with some sugar. Add garlic and scotch bonnetchilli then a few sprigs of fresh thyme, more seasoning, paprika and a pinch ofall spice. I added some mushrooms here. Then some tomato puree. Cook for a fewminutes then return the pork. Add some beef stock (about 400ml) and then pourin the beer – I used the whole bottle (minus a few sips for the chef, ofcourse). I added some little carrots to up my veg intake, plus a few shakes ofWorcestershire sauce and a teaspoon of marmite. Put the pot in the oven,covered, for 45 minutes and then uncover for up to an hour (until it’s thethickness you want it to be), stirring every 30 minutes or so. Serve withwhatever you want – rice, mash potato, green vegetables, roasted sweetpotatoes.

Thefinished bowl of food is exactly what I wanted: deeply spicy but still a littlefruity from the scotch bonnet, richly savoury from the stock and marmite, sweetand a little bitter from the beer. One of those dinners that you have in a bigbowl and it leaves you feeling full and warm.

Nobeer needed on the side – this was about recovery from beer, recovering from a busy week.

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