10 April 2011

Pork steaks with rhubarb : chinese style!

I guess that title has probably put at least 50% of you off reading this recipe, but if you got this far do please read on - it's very worth it!

Ruby - growing well, but before she went for world domination
I was very keen to make the most of the butcher's special offer regarding the pork steaks, plus Ruby our rhubarb plant has been growing like a proverbial weed and needed cropping.  You might think "main course and dessert", but if you're me, you think "how can I combine the two"?

I had a recipe for braised pork with plums which I'd been hanging onto with a view to making some day soon and, having had a bit of a review of it, began to consider the concept of replacing the plums with rhubarb.  There wasn't any other ingredient that would clash with the rhubarb and I felt that the astringency would sit well beside the pork and in place of the plums.

I had another potential area of difference with regard to the original recipe, over cooking time.  The recipe recommended cooking for 2 hours, although it was dealing with pork shoulder - and I had pork loin.  I knew if I cooked the loin steaks for too long, they stood the chance of being like shoe leather.  However, if I didn't give them long enough to render down any areas of fat (even following on from a judicious trimming), neither of my chaps would be able to eat it.  The saving grace, in this instance, was the oven temperature, which the recipe recommended at 140deg C (fan).  I reckoned that if I kept a lid on the casserole dish, at that temperature, covered in sauce, the steaks would (hopefully) come out without damage.  As it turned out, the meat was perfectly tender and without a scrap of fat to cause confusion and dismay.  (Thomas the Tank engine reference there - did you get it?)

There was also required to be some juggling where the timings for cooking was concerned.  It required two hours, so let's allow some three quarters of an hour preparation time (other people could do it quicker, but it takes time when you're sitting down for some reason), so probably three hours would see it right.  So, we would eat at 6pm so three hours would take us back to 3pm - the trouble is, I needed to be out at 2.30pm on an errand, which was right in the midst of prep. time.  The only thing for it, was to prep. the dish right up until the "putting in the oven" stage, minus the rhubarb, then put it in the oven when I returned - all of which worked like a charm.

I served the dish with plain white rice, but it was crying out for some vegetable involvement.  Next time - and there will be a next time - I'll cook some mushrooms with the pork and maybe some baby corn.  Perhaps I might even go mad and steam some Pak Choi to serve alongside.


Ingredients :

3 pork steaks or 800g pork shoulder, diced
3 tbsp mirrin or rice wine
3 tbsp soy sauce
2cm piece of root ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
a red chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
a small onion, chopped fine
a star anise
1 heaped tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp granulated sugar
half a tbsp tomato puree
250ml chicken stock
2 large sticks of rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm chunks.

Method :

1.  Heat oven to 160deg C/140deg C fan/gas 3 (or not, if you're doing the two-stage preparation method).

2.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Tip in the onions, ginger, chilli and garlic, star anise, five spice powder and cinnamon.  Fry until fragrant and soft.

3.  Stir in the sugar, then increase the heat and add the pork.  Turn in the oniony mix until the meat is just sealed, but not browned.

4.  Add the mirrin and soy sauce, tomato puree and stock.  Stir well and decant into a casserole dish and cover.  Then either place to one side to cook later, or place into the oven to cook for 1 hr.

5.   After the hour is up, remove from the oven and add the chopped rhubarb.  Stir well to combine, then replace in the oven uncovered, to cook for a further hour.

6.  At the end of that hour, if the sauce is still fairly thin (the rhubarb will have added to the juices as it cooks), simply separate the meat from the liquid then pour the liquid into a small saucepan and reduce until you're happy with its consistency.

7.  Pour the sauce over the meat and serve.



  1. This is another one worth a try. You'll soon not be able to get in and out of our house for the rhubarb growing at the front door. I MUST get that lamb and rhubarb curry recipe off Jeanette ..

  2. Whey...Hey...Just popped in to make coffee...And....There's my most favorite Blog..! :)
    Rhubarb...Lovely, and goes so well with pork.
    And, a great dish.
    I've friends round to-day. And, l've done Partridge with Chocolate.....
    Cut the partridge in half, length-ways, brown, with onions and garlic.
    Reduce the heat, and cook slowly for 45mins.
    Remove the partridge, and keep warm, outside, will do to-day.....!
    Add some flour, and mix into a roux, add, glass of wine, l always use red. White will do of course.
    Then thicken with powdered chocolate, again, l use milk.
    Pour over the partridge and serve. I've done baked potatoes, sweetcorn, spring broccoli, and garlic bread.
    Sorry, not explained as well as you Jenny, but, as l've said before, l tend to cook as l goooooo. :0).
    That's why my dumplings, are to big for my stews, l suppose....! Ha! I jest of course....! :).
    Well, best be gett'in back.....Just opened a 1996 bottle of port.....!
    Hic! Ciao....For Now....! :0).

  3. If your rhubarb is anything like Ruby - who is bursting out of her planter - I can well believe you have to fight your way past it to the front door! I don't have a problem with eating it - it's one of my favourite types of fruit.

    Your partridge dish sounds absolutely yummy, Willie! I've discovered I really like savoury/chocolate dishes - which is a shame, because hubby seems to be going off them rapidly!

  4. Rhubarb and pork - what a good idea, especially with sweet and spicy flavourings. Great idea.

  5. Hi there! Have been drooling over your blog for a while but this recipe in particular looks absolutely amazing! Will be sure to make it v soon.


  6. Well, Suzy, you have to get creative when you've a sudden glut of rhubarb on your hands! lol

    Hi there Seren! I thought I'd seen your tiny footsteps twinkling around the recipes. lol If you do make this one, let me know how it goes!

  7. Not putting me off Jenny. I can totally see how the acidity of rhubarb would work in a dish like this. Thanks for joining us for The Great British Rhubarb Recipe Round-Up

    1. I'm very glad to hear it! LOL You are welcome! :)


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