Sunday, 22 March 2015

Pork Tikka and Vegetable Stew

A Sumptious Indian Style Pork Stew with Fragrant Rice

Pork tikka on a blended bed of fragrant and plain rice with naan bread

Premade cooking sauces are not something I often buy and to be honest, I'm not really sure why I elected to buy one on this occasion. Maybe it was simply due to the fact that pork curries of any type are not too often encountered, so I wanted to see how it worked without expending too much effort. I'm not saying I'll buy premade sauces more often in future as opposed to making my own but I was certainly delighted in all ways in how this dish turned out.

Principal pork tikka ingredients

Ingredients (Serves Two)

3/4 pound pork loin steak
2 or 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 medium white onion (peeled and sliced)
5 ounce pack mixed, sliced bell peppers
1 pound jar tikka sauce
3/4 pint chicken stock
10 button mushrooms
6 ounces basmati or long grain rice
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 mini garlic and coriander (cilantro) naan breads
Freshly sliced basil leaves to garnish

Pork loin steaks


Dice the pork to one inch to one and a half inch pieces. This may of course already have been done by your butcher.

Chopped pork loin steaks

Pour the sunflower oil in to a large pot and gently heat. Add the sliced onions and gently sautee for a minute or so until just starting to soften, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon.

Starting to sautee sliced onion

Add the peppers to the onion and sautee for a further minute.

Chopped bell peppers are added to sauteeing onion

Use a large slotted spoon to temporarily remove the onion and peppers from the pot to a holding plate or bowl.

Sauteed onion and bell peppers are removed to a plate

The pork pieces should be added to the same pot and stirred around over a medium heat until sealed and browned. This should take a couple of minutes.

Satrting to brown and seal diced pork loin

Make sure the pork pieces are all evenly sealed as this helps keep the pork tender during cooking.

Browned pork loin

Tip the onion and peppers back in to the pot and pour in the tikka sauce.

Onion and peppers are re-added to pot along with tikka sauce

Stir well, pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about an hour and a half or until the pork is tender. Check frequently, giving a good stir.

Tikka sauce, pork and vegetables are stirred to combine

Add the mushrooms to the stew for the last fifteen minutes or so of cooking, while you prepare the rice. Be sure to stir them well through the mix.

Button mushrooms are added to simmering pork tikka

Put the rice in to a fine sieve and wash thoroughly under running cold water.

Basnati rice is washed prior to being cooked

Bring two separate pots of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the turmeric to one of them, along with half the rice. Add the remaining rice to the plain salted water. Stir well in both instances and simmer for ten minutes.

Simmering rice in turmeric water

The two separate types of rice should be drained through sieves and left to steam for two or three minutes. If you try to combine them immediately, the excess liquid (which will escape as steam) will turn the white rice yellow.

Rice is drained and left to steam

The naan breads will require to be heated per the instructions on the pack. This usually takes a maximum of two minutes.

Mini garlic and coriander naan breads

Add the two types of rice to one of the pots and fluff them up together with a fork.

Plain and turmeric rice ready to be combined

Divide the rice between two deep serving plates and spread out as beds for the tikka.

Rice bed is formed for pork and vegetable tikka

Spoon the tikka on to the rice beds. Note that you may have a little bit of tikka leftover but this can easily be cooled, refrigerated and reheated the following day for lunch, perhaps with a couple of leftover naan breads (often come in packs of six).

Pork and vegetable tikka is spooned on to rice bed

Scatter the shredded basil leaves over the tikka.

Shredded basil leaves garnish pork and vegetable tikka

Cut the naan breads in half and arrange around the edges of the plates. They should be used to help scoop up and eat the tikka and rice.

Tucking in to pork and vegetable tikka with rice and naan bread

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Seared Ostrich and Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables Pitta Pocket

Ostrich steak slices and roasted Mediterranean veg in a pitta pocket

I love ostrich meat and its vastly increased availability in recent years means I get the chance to cook and enjoy it more often. The increase in availability is due to a number of factors but principally vacuum packing - which keeps the meat fresh for longer - and ostrich farming now being practiced here in the UK. When I prepared this dish it was with the intention of adding it to my Ostrich Recipes page on Hub Pages but then it occurred to me that I have never before shared an ostrich recipe on this blog - or at least, I don't think I have! So I hope you like this idea and will give it a go if you can get hold of some fresh ostrich steaks. These ones came from my local Lidl and cost £4.99 for three.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Oven ready 3/4 pound tray of mixed Mediterranean roasting vegetables
2 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 pound ostrich steak
Rapeseed, vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
2 handfuls of mixed salad to serve
2 pitta breads
3 or 4 basil leaves rolled and shredded to garnish

Tray of assorted Mediterranean vegetables


You could of course select and buy the roasting vegetables separately but this option is not only easier, it's considerably cheaper! This tray includes cherry tomatoes, courgette (zucchini) slices, red and yellow peppers as well as red onion.

Mediterranean vegetables ready for roasting

The vegetables should be roasted at a fairly high temperature so start by preheating your oven to 220C/450F/Gas Mark 8. While this is happening, drizzle the vegetables with the rapeseed (recommended) or olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to turn the veg gently around in the oil and seasoning to ensure even coating. Put the tray on to a large oven tray and in to the hot oven for half an hour.

Side salad is washed thoroughly in cold water

Wash the mixed salad under running cold water and sit on your draining board to drain off.

Ostrich steaks

When the vegetables have been in the oven for about twenty minutes, pour some more rapeseed oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a very high heat.

Starting to fry ostrich steak

Fry the ostrich steak for about one and a half minutes (two at the very most) each side until done. You may think it should take longer but it doesn't. It's very lean and cooking it any longer will make it tough.

Ostrich steak is turned in frying pan

Lift the ostrich steak to a board with cooking tongs and very importantly leave it alone like this for three or four minutes to rest.

Ostrich steak is rested for a few minutes

Take the vegetables from the oven and sit them on a convenient board for assembling the dish.

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables removed from oven

When it has been rested, the ostrich steak should be very thinly sliced with a carving knife. You should easily get eight slices from a steak this size.

Rested ostrich steak is thinly sliced

I've used garlic and coriander (cilantro) pitta breads here simply because they are my favourite. You could use an alternative variety - even plain ones - if you prefer.

Garlic and coriander pitta breads

The pitta breads should be heated under your grill/broiler or in your oven, simply by following the instructions on the pack.

Side salad is arranged on plate

While the pitta breads are heating, assemble the salad on the serving plates, shaking off any excess water immediately before you do so.

Reheated pitta bread is cut open

Cut each pitta bread along one side with a sharp knife and use the cooking tongs from earlier to fill alternately with the assorted vegetables and ostrich slices.

Ostrich and roasted vegetables are added alternately to pitta bread pocket

Use the side salad to prop the pitta breads up on the serving plates.

Ostrich and roasted vegetable pitta bread is plated with salad

Garnish with the basil and serve immediately. For best results, eat using your hands.

Tucking in to ostrich and roasted vegetable pitta bread pocket