Two delicious meals from one

February 24, 2014

Potato and Pork Curry

I love it when recipes come together so easily. A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for a simple meal that wouldn’t take any time to prep. I actually had the luxury of time for it to cook, but I needed to be taking care of other things around the house, so the situation called for something that didn’t need baby sitting and would get me to work ASAP. Usually my go to in this situation is a roasted chicken, but I’ve made quite a few of those lately, so I turned to the cookbook Rôtis for some inspiration.

While I love this cookbook, I wasn’t too hopeful about finding a recipe I could make as most of them, though they need little prep, usually require forethought because the recipes have wonderful marinades. To my surprise, I stumbled upon a recipe for roast pork with lemongrass and tea that required no marinade, 15 minutes of prep, and about two hours to cook. Sold! Off to the store I went.

I ended up making a couple of changes to the recipe. First, the recipe called for roasting the pork in Earl Grey tea. For whatever reason, I’m not a huge fan of Earl Grey. I love black tea, but try as I might, Earl has never been my friend. So while at the store, intent on giving Earl another try, I noticed Twinings makes a Lady Grey tea. It seemed to be a similar flavor profile with more citrus. So I decided to give her a whirl (bonus from this recipe: I do love the Lady Grey tea). Also, since I had really wanted to make a wild rice pilaf with brussels sprouts (with olive oil instead of duck fat this time around), I almost omitted the potatoes called for in the recipe. Luckily, in the end, I decided to cut back on them a bit, thinking they would be a good thing to have with leftovers. I was right, but not in the way I had intended.

Roast Pork with Lemon Grass and Lady Grey Tea

The roast: wonderful, as was the wild rice. I put a little bit of the roast’s juices into the rice pilaf at the end which brought the entire meal together. Pair this with my favorite lemongrass pairing, VML’s Sauvignon Blanc, or as we did that night, a mellow Pinot Noir, and you have a wonderful, somewhat impressive looking meal that isn’t too involved.

My revelation came that night as I began to put away the leftovers for later. As I was scooping up the potatoes, I thought it would be a shame to let all of the ginger and shallots go to waste that were mixed in with the juices. Then it hit me: I should throw the potatoes and ginger into the food processor to make little potato balls, similar to an Indian curry simmered in a yogurt sauce I had once upon a time. Excited about the idea, I moved forward, putting the ginger and shallots in the bag with the potatoes, and even a little lemongrass. The bulk of the juices went in a separate bag with the pork to keep it nice and moist.

The following night I was a little intimidated, thinking the potato balls I envisioned might take too much time, but I was wrong. I simply dumped the potatoes, ginger and shallots into the food processor, added a little salt and a couple of teaspoons of red curry paste. A few pulses followed by just letting the processor run, and my potato turned into a dough consistency. No fuss, no muss!

A quick browning of the potato balls is needed before you make the curry sauce, but other than that, a second meal is ready with little effort! It’s always nice to have two meals from one set of ingredients with completely different flavors and textures that don’t require too much work.

The Recipes

Roast Pork with Lady Grey Tea and Lemongrass
Adapted from Rôtis: Roasts for Every Day of the Week
Serves 4 with enough left over for Potato & Pork Curry or 6 as a main course

Two Notes:
1) If I were to make this roast to serve in its entirety instead of splitting it between two meals, I would lower the temperature and increase the cooking time, as the two hours called for does not make the entire cut tender. However, for splitting into two meals, there are enough non-fatty tender pieces for serving, and the extra fat is wonderful when it melts in the curry.
2) I’ve recorded the best method for making the potatoes for the curry below. However, if you want to have some potatoes with the pork instead of making a side such as rice pilaf, I would suggest you add 2 to 4 potatoes to the 3 called for below (depending on your hunger level and sides – 2 will yield half a potato for each person, 4 will yield a whole potato, plus the three for the curry). I would add these potatoes into the roasting pan at the beginning instead of after the first hour as well.

3 pound pork shoulder
1/4 cup olive oil
6 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 Twinings Lady Grey tea bags
3 potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed, and halved
5 lemongrass stalks, cut in half and split lengthwise
2 1/2 inch knob ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 ounces butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Steep the tea bags for 5 minutes and reserve the liquid. Season the pork with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Heat the olive oil over high heat in an oven-proof roasting pan and sear the pork on all sides until browned. Move the pork to the side of the pan and add the shallot and garlic, stirring over medium heat just briefly (1 minute) to coat them with the oil. Scatter on the bottom of the pan and place the pork back to the center, on top of the shallots and garlic. If you are adding more potatoes to this recipe (see note 2 above), place them around the pork. Pour one cup of the tea over the pork, and roast in the oven for 1 hour, basting regularly.

When the hour is up, take the roast out of the oven and scatter the lemongrass, ginger, and potatoes around the meat. Pour the rest of the tea over the roast. Baste, and return to the oven for one additional hour. Continue to baste the pork regularly.

Remove the roast from the oven, and ensure the temperature is between 140 and 160, depending of your preference of doneness (the temperature will rise by 5 degrees while resting, thus the low ball temperature to check for). Baste the pork, and scatter the cubes of butter and chopped cilantro over the pork. Tent the meat with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Reserve 3 potatoes and 2 to 3 slices of pork for the Potato and Pork Curry. Pack the potatoes with the ginger and shallots in the bottom of the pan. Pack the slices of pork with some of the drippings to keep the meat moist.

Potato & Pork Curry
Serves 4

Reserved potatoes, ginger, and shallots from above recipe
2 teaspoons curry paste (I used red, but green or yellow would work equally well)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Olive oil for frying potato balls
1-inch piece ginger, peeling and finely diced
2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces and crushed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/4 onion, chopped
Reserved pork slices from above recipe, removed from juices and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
2 to 3 Thai chiles
3 ounces oyster mushrooms
2 cans coconut milk
Zest + juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Sea salt to season to taste
2 cups cooked white rice

Place the reserved potatoes, ginger, and shallots into a food processor, skins and all. Add the curry paste and salt, and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the processor, and then blend the mixture until it begins to form a dough ball. When this happens, remove the dough ball from the processor and set onto a work surface. The dough will be a little wet and sticky.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a plate. Heat olive oil in a frying pan (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan about 1/4 inch) over medium high heat. When the oil is just shy of smoking, add the potato balls in to brown, taking care not to crowd them, doing this in two batches if needed. Brown the balls on all sides, then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-covered plate. You’ll want to keep about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan, discarding any excess.

Add the ginger, lemongrass, and carrot to the oil, using the water they release to help deglaze the pan. As the carrots begin to brighten, add the onion and saute until the onion has just begun to soften. Add the pork, and continue cooking until the carrot has softened. Add the Thai chiles and the oyster mushrooms, cooking until the heat of the chiles releases and the mushrooms begin to soften. At this point, add the coconut milk, lime, and half of the cilantro, stirring and turning the heat down to medium low. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and add the potato balls balls to the pot. Once it returns to a low simmer, cook for about 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Season with salt if needed.

Serve atop 1/2 cup white rice per person.

This, of course, is perfectly paired with VML’s Sauvignon Blanc, or another crisp white wine.

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