I’ve been keeping this one to myself. Largely because there isn’t a huge need for Thermomix activity. But it is so good, as I was reminded by cooking it today, that I need to rave about it for a bit.
I discovered the recipe when following the Momofuku opening in Sydney. No, I have not been to the restaurant, but as with many other foodie obsessions (The Fat Duck, elBulli, even the geographically attainable – Movida, Rockpool, Quay) though denied the lived experience of eating at my place of worship, I stalk the food through online recipes, write ups, TV shows and cookbooks.
This appealed for many reasons. Pork is a reason alone. The simplicity of preparation, though requiring time, also hugely appealing. Also, the temptation of attempting new things – kimchi and pickled watermelon rind. And as a dinner party meal it can be expanded at the last minute to feed extras, while still being very impressive.
Momofuku suggests using a shoulder of pork – skin off. If it comes with skin, cut away, leaving all the fat and use skin to make delicious crackling as a side or as a secret indulgence when you are finally alone again. I love the pork I get at our market butcher – the Stockman’s Choice at Kelvin Grove Markets. You get to bask in wonderful Scottish accents while buying the most flavoursome, succulent pork I have ever had. The cut they have is a porterhouse. Don’t assume I actually know about cuts of meat, but this works very well.
Choose a close fitting oven dish for your piece of pork. A lot of liquid eventuates, so high sides is a good idea. A dish that can go from oven to table will also save time and washing up. A little olive oil (or whatever oil you are using for cooking) drizzled on the bottom of the dish. Sit your pork fat side up in its new house and score the fat with a sharp knife in a criss cross fashion. Sprinkle a thin layering of salt over the pork, then get a big bag of brown sugar and pack it on in a layer at least 2cm thick, don’t let any pork peek through. Put a lid or plastic wrap over the top and put in the fridge for 24 hours or until you remember it again. This can be done the morning of your bo ssam dinner, but I find it does work just a little better if the sugar and pork have spent more quality time together overnight.
4 hours before you want to serve up place your pork dish in a slow oven, uncovered. I usually have my oven at 140 degrees for the first 2 and a half hours then put it up to 150 for the last hour and a half. Depends on your oven. I have a slow cook setting on my oven that only cooks things if left in all day. I am not usually that well prepared first thing in the morning, but at least I know I don’t have to buy a slow cooker. You want the sugar nicely caramelising to a dark brown, but not burning and the pork able to melt apart with some soft poking with a fork. To serve use tongs, fork, spoons and tear it apart so there are nice shreds of pork mixing with caramelly sauce. Serve with lettuce leaves to wrap (the actual meaning of bo ssam is apparently wrapped up), rice (where your Thermomix comes in handy), spring onions and ginger in soy sauce, pickled vegetables – watermelon rind recipe coming up, kimchi, grated raw carrot. You could make all kinds of sides to go with this and turn it from a Korean dish to any kind of cuisine you like, just emphasising different flavours. A few spices in with the pork while it cooks will lift it from delicious to sublime (I like a bit of star anise and lime zest).
Try not to have too many people for dinner for this one. It is divine on a sandwich the next day.
Christmas present making is underway and I am determined to actually make all teacher, neighbour, postman, market providore gifts this year. The postman has been delivering a few more Thermomixes to my door in the last couple of months and he deserves something for having to put up with me answering the door in pjs and bed hair. The apple man at Kelvin Grove Markets regularly gives me a bag of slightly scarred fruit for free, so it is only fair he gets a jar of that produce back in return.
I have posted a winter fruit jam – perfectly timed for school fetes – with Pear and Ginger Jam. Now for your summer fruit jam recipe. Peaches are a great fruit to jam with because they are often found squishy in your fruit bowl or at least a few battered ones at the bottom of the bag when you get home from the store/market. Nothing better to do with squishy fruit than turn it into jam. This jam also makes your house smell wonderful while cooking it. And if you steam the fruit first as per instructions below to make removing the skin easy you end up with a rosy coloured water that is perfect for making Turkish delight without having to use food colouring. See further posts once I perfect my jelly setting techniques for this one.
Take a kilo of peaches. Any kind you like. If you have a lovely fruit providore relieve them of peaches that have scars or are slightly bruised and won’t sell. You are likely to get these either free or much cheaper than your perfectly formed, photogenic fruit. Cut a cross in the bottom of each peach and fit into the steamer basket and Varoma. Pour water to 1Litre mark (halfway up) in Thermomix bowl. Insert steamer basket, lid and put Varoma in place. Select Varoma heat, 20 minutes, speed 2. Check peaches to see if skins can be easily peeled off. If peaches still too firm cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Allow the peaches to cool a little so you can peel them without burning your fingertips. Pour out the water from the bowl – keeping it if you plan to make jelly with the peach hued liquid. Peel peaches and remove the stones. Set peach flesh aside. Peel the zest from two limes. Quarter a granny smith apple, leaving core in. Place zest and apple in Thermomix and blitz for 10 seconds on Speed 9. Scrape down sides and check if its all chopped finely enough. If not, blitz again.
Press scales button and weigh in peach flesh. Juice zested limes and add juice to Thermomix bowl. Match the total weight of peaches and juice with raw sugar. I ended up with around 600g peach flesh and lime juice and so added 600g raw sugar to the bowl. Put the lid on and select Varoma heat, 25 minutes, speed 2. Put as many jars as can fit in Varoma and put on top. This way you can sterilise and heat your jars while you make your jam. Put a saucer in the fridge so you can test the setting of your jam.
Cooking time will depend on how much water is in the fruit, which varies from fruit to fruit. Once the timer finishes, open the lid and spoon a little onto the cold saucer to see if it sets or runs around. This is a good opportunity to taste test as well. For my last batch I needed to put it back on to cook for a further 10 minutes until it was at a setting stage. This gives you extra time to steam some more jars. Once it is setting on the cold saucer decant the jam into your sterilised, warm jars. I find doing this over a tea towel helps with cleanup.
Just a note – if you find the jam is too chunky, resist the urge to blend it after cooking. This will cloud your jam. It will still taste the same, just won’t look as nice. I speak from experience. Now, just to see who the cloudy jam will go to. Might be a good test to see which members of my family read my blog.