I seem, purely by chance, to have come up with a selection of dishes that have either divided the audience or just plain old repelled them. Well, all except for me, that is. I've liked and enjoyed the majority!
One such is the Slow Cooked Pork with Celeriac and Orange, which I found on the BBC's Good Food website and is by Barney Desmazery.
This is a simple dish, to be eaten with crusty bread. The problem with it - from the chaps' point of view, was two-fold.
Firstly (and I agree with them, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of it) was that it had too much orange. The zest from an entire orange goes in (and I'm glad I didn't zest the entire orange - I left out its top and tail) plus orange juice. If I were to do this one again (which I won't, because of the chaps' reactions), I'd just put two or three strips of orange zest into the mix. I've reflected that in the recipe - but if you like orange, then go ahead and put more.
Secondly (and this was just hubby's preference), if a dish has a gravy or sauce or broth that's thinner than double cream consistency, then he doesn't want to know. As this dish's broth is very much just that - a broth - he didn't like it. In fact, I believe it was dubbed "pond water". *sigh* I liked it - but then I'm quite happy with broth-like gravies and sauces, so long as they're full of flavour. Which this one was - but it was largely orange!
I loved the texture of the leek, the sweetness of the carrots and the flavour of the celeriac. The pork had a tendency to be a tiny bit dry though, which I put down to my conversion from an oven-baked dish to a slow cooker dish, in that I just plain old cooked it a bit too long. I've reflected that aspect in the recipe, too - so you shouldn't have any problem with that now.
As I'm watching my intake of carbohydrates, I didn't indulge in the accompanying bread and have to say that I didn't miss it. If you felt that the dish was a little light on vegetables, you could easily add mushroom, parsnip, peas or shredded cabbage (at the last minute, with the peas and cabbage!) without compromising the flavours at all.
SLOW COOKED PORK WITH CELERIAC & ORANGE (serves 3)
2-3 leeks (depending on size) washed & trimmed, each cut into 5 pieces
a handful of Chantenay carrots top & tailed, or 2 carrots peeled and cut to match the size of the leeks
2 tbsp olive oil
600g boneless pork (I used pork loin steaks) cut into decent sized pieces
1 small celeriac, peeled and diced into large chunks
1 garlic clove, chopped
150ml dry white wine
150ml chicken stock
juice of 1 orange
3 strips of orange zest, cut with a peeler
2 tsp soy sauce
a large sprig of rosemary.
1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and once it's hot add the pork and leave it to brown.
2. Once the pork has browned, using a slotted spoon, decant it into the slow cooker and turn it on to low.
3. Add the leeks, carrots and celeriac to the frying pan (you may need to do this in batches, in which case add a little more oil) and cook until they start to show browning. Add each batch to the slow cooker.
4. Add the garlic to the last batch of vegetables and cook for a minute or so, then add it to the slow cooker.
5. Into the frying pan, to deglaze it and make the most of the lovely flavours, add the wine, stock, orange juice, orange zest, and soy sauce. Bring to the boil and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Then season with salt & pepper, add the rosemary sprig and decant into the slow cooker.
7. Give the contents of the slow cooker a stir to settle everything in together, then replace the lid and cook on high for 3 hours.
Serve with crusty bread, for mopping up the lovely juices.