Pork and apple go so brilliantly well together, it's almost enough to convince a hardline atheist that there may be something to this "intelligent design" malarky after all. While the flavour of apples is an important ingredient in these pasties, it's the liquid expression of the fruit as an accompaniment that interests me more.
Traditional cider apples are classified by their sharp, sweet and bitter characteristics: a good cider balances these elements, which is why it's such a great match for these pasties, which have touches of sweetness (from the pork and sugar), sourness (rhubarb and vinegar) and bitterness (spices and rosemary).
Luckily, there's a good choice of ciders now in bottle-shop land. The number of artisan cider producers is increasing; larger drinks companies are producing a wider range of more interesting ciders; and specialty beer importers are shipping some outstanding ciders from England, France and New Zealand.
A glass of crisp apple cider is an inspired match for these golden, buttery parcels of tender pork and potato.
- 1.2 kg pork shoulder, bone in
- 250 ml dry apple cider
- 250 ml chicken stock (1 cup)
- 2 Dutch cream potatoes, finely diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup rosemary, finely chopped
- 2 quantities <a href="http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/rough-puff-pastry.htm">rough puff pastry</a>
- For brushing: eggwash
- 1 kg rhubarb (about 2 bunches), coarsely chopped
- 150 gm brown sugar (1 cup)
- 250 ml cider vinegar (1 cup)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp each ground ginger and mild korma curry powder (see note)
- 1Preheat oven to 220C. Score pork skin and fat (do not cut into flesh), season to taste, place in a roasting pan and roast until skin begins to crisp (30-35 minutes). Add cider and stock to pan, cover with foil, reduce oven to 150C and roast until meat pulls easily from bone (5½-6 hours). When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat (discard bone) and reserve crackling for another use. Refrigerate until required.
- 2Meanwhile, for rhubarb chutney, combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the simmer and stir occasionally until thick (30-40 minutes), then set aside to cool. Makes 750ml. Chutney will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for 2 weeks.
- 3Cook potato in boiling salted water until tender (8-10 minutes). Drain and cool.
- 4Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic, sauté until tender (10-12 minutes). Add rosemary, stir to combine, then cool to room temperature and combine with pork and potato in a large bowl. Season to taste and set aside.
- 5Preheat oven to 200C. Roll half the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut eight 15cm-diameter circles (discard scraps). Divide half the pork mixture among centres of pastry rounds, brush edges with eggwash and fold pastry over filling to enclose. Twist edges to seal, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with remaining pastry and pork mixture (there may be a little left over), brush with eggwash and bake in batches until golden and heated through (15-20 minutes). Serve hot with rhubarb chutney.
Note Mild korma curry powder is available from Herbie's Spices. If unavailable, substitute another mild curry powder. Drink suggestion by Max Allen