I’m so in love with Ken’s photo-centric recap of the Tiger Beer Chinese New Year Potluck, I wouldn’t think about trying to top it. His photos beautifully captured the event, and adding my own words won’t do it justice. It was, quite simply, a great time. Plus I decided not to take photos of the event myself. Once in a while you have to leave the camera at home, right? I do want to thank Ken and Jackie for putting the event together, and big thanks to the sponsor, Tiger Beer.
I made two dishes. First came an Indonesian-style beef rendang from Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland. You may already know I love that book, but the recipes are generally not easy. I doubled my batch and so the cooking took so long, I had to spread it out over two days. I’m sure I went wrong somewhere along the way because my meat was more shredded than how Oseland describes it in the recipe, but taste is what it’s all about, and I thought this was really good. I’d definitely try making it again, maybe with a few tweaks next time. I have to mention my inspiration for the dish came from a fantastic event I attended recently which was sponsored by Malaysia Kitchen. I hope to have a chance to blog about it soon.
I made pork adobo as a back-up and ended up bringing both dishes with me to the event? Is that weird? You see, I wasn’t sure how the rendang would turn out, and there was no way I’d show up empty handed at the potluck with all those awesome food bloggers. This dish too required a lot more cooking time because I made a double, no wait, triple batch. I think I messed this up too, because the slab bacon I bought at my local Polish butcher was way too lean, but as I said, it’s about the taste. And this was really good. I’d make this again in a heartbeat, though only for a crowd because it’s so rich — pork with bacon. If you’re curious, here’s the recipe.
Reprinted with permission from The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas
Makes 4 servings
2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
10 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups water
1/2 pound slab bacon (rind removed), cut into 1-inch pieces
Cooked long-grain rice
In a large bowl, combine the pork, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf, vinegar, and soy sauce, toss well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
In a large stainless-steel or enameled pot, combine the pork mixture and water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour. Uncover, increase the heat to moderate, and continue cooking till the pork is tender and the broth is reduced to about 1 1⁄2 cups, about 30 minutes.
Strain the broth into a small bowl, transfer the pork mixture to a large bowl, discard the bay leaf, and set aside.
In the same pot, fry the bacon over moderate heat till almost crisp and transfer to a plate. Pick out the pork pieces from the pork mixture and brown them evenly in the bacon fat. Add the garlic, peppercorns, and bacon and stir till the garlic is lightly browned and some of it has turned into a paste, about 2 minutes. Add the strained broth, reduce the heat to low, and simmer about 5 minutes.
Mound hot rice on serving plates and spoon equal amounts of adobo over the mounds.