A friend said recently, that the times he remembers being the most happy, was when he was eating and drinking with good friends.
My fat ladies, (the group of friends who inspire me, endlessly, and partner with me on such things as Fried Chicken taste-offs, Burger sprints, and the like) all got together this past Saturday for a pre-Christmas catch-up. I love my fat lady posse. Smart, thought provoking, and food bad-asses in every way. I threw out the invitation for a Korean inspired theme, and without a whisper, the ladies turned up, bringing dish after dish. (I love Korean! Let's do it!)
Picture this: Heritage Breed Berkshire Pork Shoulder, coated in thick spicy Korean paste, (Gochujang) and covered with lots of whole Garlic, toasted Fennel Seeds, Peanut and Sesame Oil, then slow roasted for 5 long hours till meltingly tender and falling apart. Serve it with thick quarter-inch slabs of rich Double Smoked Bacon, that's been coated liberally with thick Maple Syrup (syrup that's been aged in Barrels that have housed Bourbon for 12 long years) and roasted until crisp and sticky. Like Candy. Heaven! (I do like a side of Pork with my Pork dish). We also had Delicata Squash laden in Garlic and Maple Syrup, Roasted Okra with a delicious spicy dip, a crunchy bright Carolina Coleslaw which went perfectly with the Pork and a creamy Potato Gratin, layered with Kimchi, a definite nod to our loose Korean theme.
CARROT JAM: By James Dunlinson Delicious on hot toast or crumpets. This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We served it as an appetizer with Triple Cream Brie and crackers. It makes about three 450g/15 oz jars and you need to start it the day before.
Put 1kg carrots, peeled and grated, finely grated rind and strained juice of 2 lemons, finely grated rind and strained juice of 1 orange, and 900g granulated sugar in a preserving pan, and stir. Tie 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 6 cloves into a small circle of muslin, tie with kitchen string and place in the middle of the carrots. Leave overnight to macerate. Pour over about 900ml water, add 1 tsp grated nutmeg, warm and stir until any sugar crystals have dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil until it reaches its setting point, about 30-40 minutes; test to see if it's ready using a chilled saucer. Carefully fish out the spice bag. Cool for 10 minutes, then pour into warm, sterilised jars and cover with lids or waxed paper discs and cellophane covers while still hot. Store in a cool, dry place and use within one year.
"KOREAN" SLOW ROASTED PORK SHOULDER: By Dimity Jones Toast 2 tablespoons of Whole Fennel Seeds in a shallow pan. Put the seeds in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of Ground Cumin, 1 tablespoon of Gochujang, 10 cloves of Garlic, 4 tablespoons of Sesame Oil, 1 tablespoon of Rice Vinegar, 1 and a half tablespoons of Kosher Salt and 3 tablespoons of Peanut Oil. Blend well until it resembles a paste. Coat a 3 pound Pork Shoulder in the entire paste, put in a Zip lock Bag and leave in the fridge, well coated for 2 days (or at least 12 hours). Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Place the pork shoulder in a casserole dish with one cup of water, cover with lid, and bring to boil on the stove top, reduce to simmer and leave on the stovetop for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200 degrees, and place the dish inside the oven and cook for another 4-5 hours, or until tender. (Depending on your meat there might be quite a bit of rendered fat. Reserve before serving).
CANDIED MAPLE-GLAZED DOUBLE SMOKED BACON: By Dimity Jones Take a slab of Double Smoked Bacon (I used Schaller Weber) and slice it into quarter-inch slices. Coat liberally with Maple Syrup and place on a baking sheet in an 400 degree oven. Flip over. Remove when crisp and serve immediately. (Don't let cool, or they will stick to the baking sheet (like Candy) and be hard to remove/serve).
KIMCHI POTATO GRATIN: By Dimity Jones I love gratin, and thought the creamy potatoes would go well with the pork. The addition of kimchi is in keeping with the Korean theme. You only need to season the potato layers lightly as the kimchi has a very strong flavor.
Butter a a 9 x 13 inch (3 Quart) pyrex baking dish. Slice thin 10 or so, medium peeled Yukon Gold Potatoes and put one layer into the dish, dot with unsalted butter and lightly season with Salt and Pepper. Open a jar of Mother-n-law Kimchi, (or whatever kimchi you can find at any local Asian food store, see source info below) and roughly chop the kimchi until fairly thin. After the first potato layer, scatter a light layer of Kimchi. Not too much, you should still see the potatoes coming through. Repeat potato and kimchi layers till you reach the top, seasoning lightly, and adding dots of butter as you go. Finish on a potato layer. Pour over a 1 pint of heavy pouring cream and cover with alfoil. Bake at 400 for 45 or until fork tender. Once tender push the top layer of potatoes into the cream with the back of a wooden spoon and take off the foil cover and cook for another few minutes until brown and bubbly on top.
CAROLINA COLESLAW: By Macon York. Macon's father— Ty York has been making this coleslaw in Savannah, Georgia since 2005. When his wife swooned over the complex vinegar flavor—it became a staple at their yearly 4th of July parties.
ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH: By Carrie Purcell. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take 6 medium Delicata Squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed. Slice squash into 1/4-inch thick half rings. Transfer to a sheet pan or two in a single layer. Drizzle with 4 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs kosher salt, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 4 tbs chili garlic sauce and toss to coat. roast 30 to 45 minutes or until tender and caramelized.
SPICY ROASTED OKRA By Maggie Ruggiero. 2 lb of Okra tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast until just tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Stir together 1 tablespoon crushed toasted sesame seeds, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1/3 cup finely chopped scallions, 1 tsp sugar and a scant teaspoon Korean hot pepper flakes. Pour over okra or serve on the side.