In my travels in Portugal over two visits, I realised what great people the Portuguese are, how wonderful their wines are, and how fabulous their food. The black footed pig provides any number of cuts which are cured, and the fresh meat is just wonderful. Plenty of intramuscular fat as a result of their largely acorn-based diet leaving the meat tender and succulent.
My Refogado of Pork uses pork neck which has been filleted and braised.
Michael’s Refogado of Pork
What you’ll need…
1.5kg pork neck, skin off, filleted and tied, bring it to room temperature
Rub of BoKaap spices
2 tsp coarse Sea Salt
1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, fennel, cumin & cinnamon
good splash of Rio Largo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
80 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 onions – coarsely chopped
125 ml Port, or local Port style wine
250 ml hearty red wine
500ml NOMU Chicken Stock
16 soft dried Apricots
2 bay leaves
freshly milled black pepper
Kneaded butter [an equal mixture in weight of soft butter and flour, well mixed]
What you’ll do
Have ready a large oval enameled cast iron casserole. Preset the oven on 180C with the shelf in the middle.
Be sure that the meat is not too cold.
Using a pestle and mortar, pound the salt to break it up a bit. Mix in the spices and pound again to mix well. Add the olive oil to create a thick paste. Rub it generously all over the meat and set aside for about 30 minutes.
In the casserole heat the oil over medium to gently heat and carefully brown the meat on all sides. Hold it vertical and sear off the ends as well. Do not be tempted to use too high a temperature, as the spices will burn. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and golden brown. Add the port and over high heat allow the port to boil away almost completely. Add the wine and allow it to come to the boil and simmer for a short while to evaporate the alcohol.
Return the meat, and any juices that may have collected. Add the apricots and bay leaves. Put on the lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 160C and braise for a further tie until cooked through. Remove the meat, cover with foil and allow to rest for about 20 minutes. Place the casserole on a medium flame and reduce the sauce until well flavoured. Adjust the seasoning and stir in knobs of the kneaded butter to thicken the sauce to taste. Remove the ties from the meat and slice thinly and place in the sauce. Cover and allow to heat through for about 10 minutes.
Serve with rice, and a green vegetable like steamed Savoy cabbage.
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In the cellar, the grapes were hand sorted and then destalked and crushed into stainless-steel tanks for fermentation. Frequent stirring meant good colour and soft tannins. After fermentation the wine is settled and taken to French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. The wine was then taken to 100% French Oak Barrels for 31 months. The barrels are then selected, and wine blended to fill one barrel and prepare for bottling.
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