What’s cooking? Pork Neck, Clams and Jerusalem Artichokes with Apatsagi Tramini

As part of our new ‘What’s Cooking Campaign’ we are going to post weekly a recipe for a dish one of us has cooked along with a suggested wine match and a couple of snap-shots. We don’t have direct affiliation with other grocers, but we try and get the best quality ingredients we can find and will always let you know where we get them.

You may have met our resident ‘Wine Geek’ Gergely at Wilton Way or Borough Market. He’s incredibly enthusiastic about wine and perhaps even more enthusiastic about pork. He once proclaimed to a colleague (in his wonderful Hungarian accent) that ‘Pork is Wife’ – he meant to say ‘life’, but you get the gist.

Gergely is so fond of pork that he may actually get a rush of endorphins when he knows it’s on someone’s menu , so he was very happy to collect my pork shoulder  (no neck available) from Sillfield Farm in Borough Market (these guys sell beautiful pork and are well worth a visit at the market or online. I collected the other ingredients from the organic grocer and Fin and Flounder on Broadway market. The dish is simple one pot job of Portuguese origin, taken from Valentine Warner’s new book ‘The Good Table’.  To go with it I chose a bottle of Hungarian Tramini from the Benedictine Monks of Western Transdanubia in Hungary. Read Gergely’s fascinating blog post about these guys here.

INGREDIENTS:

1kg Clams, rinsed

1kg Pork Neck

8 Jerusalem Artichokes – quartered lenthwise

1 Large glass of white wine (I used our aromatic Rhone white £12)

2 tbls Olive oil

3 Banana Shallots, sliced lengthwise

3 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped

2 Bay leaves

1 Small bunch old fashioned parsley, finely chopped

Generous grind of Salt and Pepper

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 180°. Remove the pork rind and excess fat (Valentine suggests poaching and serving warm with capers. . .).  Add oil to a heavy flameproof casserole and brown pork on all sides, taking care not to burn the oil. Remove pork and all but 1tbls of oil and fat. Add wine and clams and boil until clams are open, about 2 minutes. Remove the clams, allow to cool, refrigerate. Add the rest of the ingredients except the parsley and nestle the pork in the middle.

With the lid on cook in the oven for 2 hours, open the oven from time to time to tease your guest with the magnificent aroma of slow cooking pork. Carve the meat in thickish slices and add the clams and parsley to the steaming casserole. Mix back with the pork and serve on hot plates. Serves 4

It’s easy to cook and there’s no last minute panic, leaving you time to entertain and drink the rest of the cooking wine. I suggest using something at least half decent, dry and aromatic.  It looks great on the plate with the clam shells and flecks of parsley and the aroma while cooking is truly something. The Jerusalem artichokes soak up all the flavour, the pork is juicy and tender and the clams with the lifted notes from the aromatic white add some nuances to what is a very simple dish.

And the Tramini? Fab! It’s is an intriguing wine, 100% Gewurztraminer from Apatsagi’s  Széldomb vineyard, which is planted at an altitude of 160 to 180 metres on south-east facing slopes. This Gewurztraminer leaps from the glass with aromas of rose, lychee, elder flower  and sweet spice. Gewurz can sometimes be overly alcoholic (hot), confected and oily in texture and while this example has a gentle viscocity (which helps it stand up to the pork), it is tightly structured  – bone dry and very appealing.  Its body stood up to the pork, its aromatics complemented the clams and parsley and neither food nor wine overpowered the other.

The Pannonhalmi Apatsagi Tramini is an exciting wine. You can purchase a bottle at all our shops for $14. . .

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