Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Fresh Tortillas

Fresh Tortillas

I am very excited to have pulled-pork leftovers from last night, as it tastes about 10 times better with an extra day to steep in the barbeque sauce. So to match my even tastier pulled pork, I thought I would try my hand at some fresh tortillas. And I discovered they are extremely easy, and much tastier than what you can buy in a packet in the supermarket! It just takes a few minutes to roll them out, and some elbow grease with the rolling pin. It's actually quite therapeutic.

Start with 1 and 3/4 cups of plain flour. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Pour in 1/4 cup oil 
...rice bran oil. My favourite when you can't use olive oil. 
Then half a cup of boiling water. And that's it for your ingredients! Easy.
Stir it around until it starts clumping together.
Then you have to get your hands dirty, and start kneading away. 
Punch it, push it, knead it around for about 3 minutes.
 All set.
Place it back in the bowl, and cover it to sit for 15 minutes. Mine sat for 45 minutes while I went for a walk and it did no harm.
After your walk, place a big flat pan on the stove to heat up over medium heat, then lower the heat down while you're cooking the tortillas. The heavier the base of your frypan, more often than not it will cook more evenly. Don't add any oil! It doesn't need it.
Then it's time to start rolling them out. Spread some flour onto a board. 
Get your dough out 
Divide it in two. 
Then divide those in two again 
and then in half again so you have 8 pieces. 
Take one of the balls, a big rolling pin, and start to flatten it out. 
Roll it around. Keep turning the dough around as you work the rolling pin towards the outside.
Keep rolling until it's really thin- no more than 1-2mm. 
And about 20 cm wide.
Throw it on your nice hot pan
After 15 seconds you'll see some bubbles popping up.
 And at 30 seconds it's ready to be flipped over!
(now is a good time to keep rolling out your other pieces of dough).
 Another 20 seconds on the back side and it's done! 
Put it on a plate and keep on rolling out and cooking the rest of them. 
Here's my big stack of 8 all done.
And here it is with my beautiful leftover pulled pork, fresh salsa and cheese. Even better than last night!

Fresh Tortillas

1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/2 cup hot water

Extra flour for rolling.

1. Mix flour salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add oil and water, then mix together.
2. Knead with your hand for 3-5 minutes into a ball, then leave it to sit, covered with a tea towel for at least 15 minutes.
3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces (break dough in half, then half, then half again).
4. Roll each small ball of dough out onto a floured surface, until they are very thin (1-2mm).
5. Heat a large frypan to medium heat (no oil needed!), and place rolled out dough onto the pan to cook. Flip after 30 seconds when your tortilla is bubbling up, and cook the other side for a further 20 seconds. 
6. Repeat until you have your stack of tortillas, fill them with something tasty (pulled pork, chicken fajitas), and eat!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Pulled Pork - slow cooker

Pulled Pork - Southern American style

Today is a very exciting day. I have been dreaming of making pulled pork for about 4 and a half years, ever since my first taste on a trip to New Orleans. For a Sydneysider who knew a lot about Thai and European food, discovering southern American cooking was a rather exciting day... tangy, spicy, smoky goodness. And now that South American food is back in fashion, recipes for Pulled Pork are flying around and I decided it was about time to make some that somewhat replicates what I tasted years ago in the USA. Just gotta say... it was tasty and very easy to make... unfortunately I was salivating all day with the slow cooker going and smoky barbeque smells wafting through the house. Just a warning, it's so much better for you when you cut down on the sugar and store bought barbecue sauce!
Update! I made this again with homemade barbeque sauce, much better than the bought stuff, try it out!

Start by getting your slow cooker and your pork roast. I have a 1.8kg pork leg roast.

Take two onions, peel them, and chop it in half.
Then slice down the middle so you have some nice half circles of onion.
Place these down in the middle of the slow cooker so you have a nice bed for the pork to sit on. This will keep the pork even more tender when cooking by keeping it away from the direct heat.

Then gather your sauce ingredients. We'll be mixing them all together, pouring it on top of the slow cooker and letting it go!
Make up half a cup of chicken stock: pour 1/2 cup boiling water into 1/2 teaspoon of powder stock.
Take 3 big cloves of garlic, peel them and squash them with the side of a knife
Then dice them up nice and fine
and mix it into the chicken stock.
Find 3 sprigs of thyme, pick the leaves off with your fingers and add to the stock. If you end up with a little bit of soft stem in there it's fine.
To your mix add half a cup of apple cider vinegar. My dad used to give this to us for medicinal purposes. This will not taste medicinal here, I promise!
2 tablespoons of brown sugar. I don't usually like adding sugar where I can avoid it, but I suppose for the authentic taste, it has to stay in.
I tablespoon of 'yellow' (read Dijon) mustard. English mustard will also do.
1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce
Give it a good stir
Now for some nice chilli powder. An entire tablespoonful! 
Now comes the fun part. One cup of barbeque sauce. Smokey barbeque sauce is even better. Best would be some authentic American stuff... sadly Australian supermarkets don't cater for this. Or you can make your own here!
Pour the barbeque sauce into the rest of your stock mix, and carefully mix it around so it's combined and looking all dark, spicy, smokey and menacing.
Take your pork out of the packet, and take any string tying it all together off. As we'll be shredding it later, it really doesn't need to stay together.
Place your pork into the slow cooker on top of your bed of onions
Then pour the sauce over the pork.
And some more pouring to cover the whole roast...
Too much pouring! (take the spoon that incidentally fell in, out)
Once all the sauce is in...
...cover the slow cooker up and leave it to go! 10-12 hours on low, 5-6 hours on high, or as I did, 2 hours on high followed by 6 hours on low.

...8 hours later... 

This is what you will find when you open the slow cooker! Tender falling apart pork in spicy barbeque sauce.
Using some big utensils, lift the pork into a separate dish to start shredding.
 But beforehand you'll want to take off that big hunk of fat off the top of your roast and throw it away! It should easily pull off when you slide it back. 
Now you can start shredding. It should come apart really easily.
 All shredded. 
Before you tip the pork back in the pot, take out half of the sauce and throw it out. This will stop it from becoming soggy, and saves your from eating all that sauce.
Now tip the shredded pork back in the slow cooker with the sauce.
And stir it all around. If you have time, you can leave the shredded pork to stew a little in the sauce. You can also add a spoonful of cornflour if the sauce is a little runny to make it stick to the pork.
And there is your beautiful pulled pork! Eat it as you like- on it's own, with some coleslaw, on a roll.
 Or in a Tortilla like me. I made a very quick salsa to freshen it up. Dice one cucumber, 2 tomatoes and one large red capsicum.
 Drizzle some lemon juice over the fresh salsa. 
Serve some pulled pork on a fresh tortilla, with a spoonful of fresh salsa or two  
And a little cheese. And some sour cream if you like. Wrap it up and enjoy! 

Pulled Pork - slow cooker

1.8kg Pork leg roast
2 onions

1 cup smoky barbeque sauce, or try it homemade
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon dijon (or hot english) mustard
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chilli powder (less if you like)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
3 sprigs of thyme.

1. Cut onions into slices, place as a bed in the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. Take string off of the pork roast, and place on top of the onion bed in the slow cooker.
3. Mix sauce ingredients together, including the thyme leaves. Pour over the pork roast.
4. Leave to cook in slow cooker for 5-6 hours on high. Or 8-10 hours on low. Or 2 hours on high followed by 6 hours on low.
5. After cooked, remove pork from the slow cooker. Remove the layer of fat and throw away. Shred the pork with two forks.
6. Take out half the sauce left in the slow cooker and throw away. Put the shredded pork back in with the sauce for at least 10 minutes to stew, or for as long as you like until serving.

Serve with tortillas, cheese and fresh salsa.  For fresh salsa, dice 2 tomatoes, one red capsicum, one cucumber and mix together. Drizzle with lemon juice

Serves 6-8.