|Cameroonian meat and potato hotpot|
Last night's opening match of the World Cup Finals didn't throw up much of a shock, with hosts Brazil opening their campaign with what was in the end a moderately comfortable if largely uninspiring 3-1 win over Croatia. Back in 1990, however - when it was the holders who participated in the tournament's opening match - a Diego Maradona captained Argentina side took on the Africans of Cameroon, expecting and expected to secure a convincing win to kick off the defence of their trophy. It was not to be, however, with the Cameroonians pulling off a shock 1-0 win which is still remembered by many to this day.
The colourful character that is Roger Milla may long since have finally retired but the present day Cameroonian side kick-off their 2014 World Cup campaign today against Mexico, perhaps once again as at least slight underdogs. When looking for a Cameroonian dish to prepare for this World Cup feature, the biggest problem I encountered was in the availability of authentic and traditional ingredients. That was until I found a fairly simple, spicy potato hotpot which seems to be regularly prepared with a variety of different meats. I came across it prepared with everything from beef to smoked turkey so just to be a little bit different, I've used pork shoulder.
|Pork shoulder steaks|
1/2 pound pork shoulder meat, chopped to 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons peanut/groundnut oil (vegetable or sunflower oil will be fine)
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced or diced
3/4 pint fresh chicken stock
5 or 6 small to medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
Handful of mixed sliced bell peppers (capsicums)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped to a medium dice
2 ounces green beans, cut to 3/4 inch pieces
1 teaspoon medium chilli powder (or to taste)
Freshly chopped parsley to garnish
|Browning and sealing chopped pork shoulder|
Gently heat the oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add the pork, season with salt and pepper and brown and seal over a medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. This should take only two to three minutes.
|Onion and garlic added to browned pork|
Add the onion and garlic to the pot and sautee for a further minute or so until the onion is just softened. Pour in the chicken stock, stir well, bring to a simmer, cover and cook in this way for one hour.
|Principal vegetables for meat and potato hotpot|
When the pork meat has been simmering for an hour, it is time to add the remainder of the ingredients.
|Diced tomato and green beans for Cameroonian hotpot|
The potato, carrot, peppers, tomatoes and green beans can simply be tipped carefully in to the pot before being stirred through the meat and stock.
|Vegetables added to part cooked pork in stock|
The chilli powder should be added before the hotpot is given another thorough stir and brought back to a simmer for a further hour, this time uncovered.
|Chilli powder adds a little bit of spice to the hotpot|
Be sure to check on your hotpot ever ten minutes or so, giving it a bit of a stir and making sure it is not starting to boil dry. If you achieve a gentle enough simmer in the first instance, however, this shouldn't happen. If necessary, you can add a tiny bit of boiling water.
|Cameroonian meat and potato hotpot is stirred and simmered|
The hotpot is ready when the potatoes are just softened, the pork is tender and the remaining liquid has been reduced to a rich, thick sauce.
|Cameroonian meat and potato hotpot is ready to serve|
Give your hotpot a careful taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon in to your chosen serving dish and garnish with the chopped parsley.
|Meat and potato hotpot is spooned in to serving dish|