Thursday, 20 November 2008

My 9 hour, £1.64 pork roast

OK, ok. I give in. I'm now a card-carrying member of the AGA fan club.

Yesterday I had an amazing late afternoon shopping raid on our local Somerfield which turns out to be frugal nirvana (being a noted student haunt). When we arrived at about quarter to five they were marking meat down and I picked up 350g of lambs liver for 41p and a 1.75kg pork joint for just £1.64 - both reduced by 75%.

Problem was both needed to be used by the end of yesterday. I was going to marinate the pork but reckoned, on unwrapping it, it needed to be cooked straight away. So I thought I'd risk cooking it overnight in what's called the simmering oven.

I smashed up a teaspoon each of coarse salt, black peppercorns and fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon ground chillies with my mortar and pestle then added 3 chopped cloves of garlic to make a coarse paste. I rubbed the joint with olive oil and smeared the paste into the meat and skin then rubbed in a bit of lemon juice (yes, messy, but fun). Then I put the joint in a roasting tin with a slosh of white wine and water, gave the meat 10 minutes in the hot oven then transferred it to the simmering oven.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I took it out this morning, 9 hours later - or whether we'd be woken by the fire alarm in the middle of the night - but it was utterly fantastic. No crackling but just fabulous, fragrant, spicy meat and loads of gorgeous pan juices which are settling as I write. Unbelievable!

The only downside was that we couldn't really eat it hot at that time of the morning though we did manage a few greedy slivers for breakfast but it will make great cold cuts and sandwiches for a couple of days. If you haven't got an Aga you could equally well do this in a very low oven - about 130°C/250°F/Gas 1/2, I would think, having given it a bit of a blast first to get it going.

Oh and the liver was good too. I made a Turkish recipe called Kebda which is simply sliced lambs' liver dusted in flour (2 tbsp) mixed with 1/2 a teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and sweet paprika, quickly fried and seasoned with lemon juice. It's nice with a dollop of yoghurt and some chopped coriander but we didn't have either and were certainly not going to spoil our feeling of smug satisfaction by buying overpriced herbs . . .


notSupermum said...

Fiona, you're just showing off now!

It wouldn't be such a frugal meal for me to make, because of the initial outlay for the Aga. I've never seen them for sale in Aldi, well not yet anyway....

Fiona Beckett said...

You're absolutely right NSM - but at least I didn't have to buy it. And you could, as I say, easily roast the pork in a conventional oven.

You'll have to monitor the posts for excess AGA mentions and stop me becoming an AGA bore ;-)

Gerry said...

Welcome and congratulations.
i envy you. I left behind my Aga ( cooked on for 25 years) when I ran away to sea...
One of the few things I miss but just wouldn't fit on a small sailboat, damn!
Now its a small propane stove and a BBQ but frugality is a way of life out here on the ocean.
Love your blog, makes me a little less homesick!

Fiona Beckett said...

Pleased to hear that, Gerry. What an amazing adventure you're having!

Greenlady said...

I must say that does look very appetising - and as I have commented before, I do not like pork ( and especially not the crackling, yes I am a strange woman ;) ) but I would eat some of that for sure !

I think that's a good idea to try it in a non Aga oven. There is good precedence for the quick hot blast followed by very long slow cooking method for various meats. For folks with Economy 7 & electric ovens especially, to take advantage of the cheaper overnight tariff. And for even more frugality, make sure you fill up the oven as much as possible - slow roast trays of veggies at the same time or pop in a couple of casseroles to slow cook.

Fiona Beckett said...

Casseroles are a great idea, greenlady. Freeze 'em and get ahead for Christmas!