Slowly does it: Mark Hix cooks with rare-breed pork

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The succulent and tender meat is a world away from the pork you'll find in supermarkets...

This week I am concentrating on rare-breed pork – it's massively different from the meat that you can find on the high street and in supermarkets, and its high fat content gives it real succulence, flavour and tenderness. There is some great free-range outdoor reared pork around at the moment and I love cooking with the stuff, as it is such a flexible meat to cook with; most of the cuts are pretty tender and rarely require long, slow cooking.

Honey roast ham sandwich with dill pickles

Serves 4

A joint of ham is still a good-value cut whether you boil or roast it, and the flavour hot or cold is second to none. It's so satisfying getting two or three meals from one cut of a boiled ham or bacon.

A raw smoked or unsmoked ham joint weighing a kilo or so
10 or so cloves
3-4tbsp clear honey
4 slices of sourdough
4 large dill pickles, thinly sliced lengthways
2tbsp grain mustard
2tbsp good-quality mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 5. Score the rind of the ham and stud the cloves in randomly. Put a double layer of foil on a baking tray, place the ham on top and spoon over half of the honey. Roast the ham for about 45 minutes, basting it as it's cooking and adding a little water to the tray if it's caramelising too much and burning. Spoon over the rest of the honey and cook for a further 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Once cool, mix the mustard and mayonnaise together; thin down with a little water if it's too thick. Slice enough of the ham for four sandwiches as thinly as possible. Toast the bread. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the toast, then arrange the ham and pickles and spoon the rest of the mayonnaise on top.

Bacon chop with raisins

Serves 4

I love a good bacon chop and I'm not sure why more butchers don't sell them – we have been buying some fantastic Moyallon sweet-cured, smoked bacon chops from Hannan Meats in Northern Ireland, which were awarded a 3-star gold in the Great Taste Awards.

4 bacon chops, weighing about 200g each
Vegetable oil for brushing
40g of raisins soaked for 24 hours in warm water
20g butter
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
20g flour, plus some for dusting
200ml cider or wine
300ml chicken stock

Preheat a ribbed griddle pan, brush the chops with a little oil and grill for about 3-4 minutes on each side. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the flour and cook on a low heat for a minute, then gradually add the cider or wine and stock to avoid lumps forming, bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Drain the raisins; simmer them gently in the sauce for a couple of minutes. Serve the sauce spooned over the chops or separately.

Pork cheeks in perry

Serves 4

A few butchers and good supermarkets are now selling pork cheeks. They're a great cut of pure meat and they have natural marbling, so the meat stays moist during slow cooking.

500-600g pork cheeks, cut into 4-5cm chunks or left whole
60g butter
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g flour, plus some for dusting
500ml perry
700ml chicken stock

Season and lightly flour the pork cheeks. Heat a frying pan with a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil and fry the cheeks on a high heat for a few minutes, browning them on all sides then drain on some kitchen paper. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft, add the flour and cook on a low heat for a minute, then gradually add the perry and stock to avoid lumps forming; bring to the boil, add the pork cheeks, season and simmer gently for about 1-1 hours or until the cheeks are tender. The sauce should have reduced and thickened by now; if not, remove the cheeks and simmer the sauce until it's thickened, then return the cheeks and serve in a warmed sharing dish or individual plates.

Pork steak with jasmine flowers

Serves 4

My friend Hieu at London's Vietnamese restaurant Cay Tre serves jasmine flowers as a side dish; they are absolutely delicious and have a luxurious flavour somewhat reminiscent of asparagus (which would also work well here). You can find them in Chinese and Vietnamese supermarkets.

I've also scattered a few Chinese chive tops over, which you can also find in Chinese supermarkets.

4 pork steaks, cut from preferably the rib, weighing about 150g each
100-120g jasmine flowers (or asparagus)
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil for frying
A handful of Chinese chives, tops reserved and bottoms finely chopped
2-3tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

Preheat a ribbed griddle pan or heavy frying pan, season and brush the pork steaks with a little of the soy. Brush the griddle with a little oil and cook the steaks for about 3-4 minutes on each side until just cooked but still slightly pink. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon or so of the vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan or wok and quickly fry the jasmine flowers and chopped chives for 2-3 minutes without colouring them and seasoning lightly during cooking. Blanch the chive tops in boiling salted water and drain.

To serve, cut the steaks into 4-5 slices, spoon the jasmine flowers on to warmed serving plates, arrange the pork on top and scatter the chive flowers over. Spoon a little sweet soy around and serve.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence