Indonesian Pork & Coconut Stew
Time for the crock pot to come out of hibernation for the season. When I remember to use it, I love my crock pot. As I’m writing this at noon, dinner’s cooking in the kitchen without my having to fuss with it, and the house smells beautifully of curry.
The recipe comes from The Slow Cooker Ready & Waiting Cookbook, by Rick Rodgers. Could he have come up with a longer title? Never mind, it’s a terrific book. Not a can of condensed soup anywhere near it. Now, slow cooker does not mean no prep–no prep usually means no flavor and the heavy use of convenience products. Blech. My anti-overly-processed-food self likes this book because it takes the opposite approach: it’s all about the flavor. Here, the point of slow cooking is the magic yielded by long simmering at a very low temperature–not transforming the cook into some sort of sodium and preservative flinging Sandra Lee wannabe. Even though there’s prep involved, however, this is a very easy recipe.
I’ve adapted the original recipe, which was for a veal stew, and my version is below. This will be one of those follow the bouncing ball recipes, so come along…
Indonesian Pork & Coconut Stew, as adapted from Rick Rodgers
First, cut about three pounds of boneless pork into bite-sized chunks. In batches, brown it in a bit of vegetable oil.
Drain the pork on paper towels and put it in the slow cooker. Stir in two Tbsp. soy sauce.
Chop a medium onion and two big jalapenos (fewer if you don’t like hot peppers).
Cook in about a tablespoon of oil long enough to soften. Maybe five minutes or so.
Then add five cloves garlic (the original recipe called for only two, but I’m me), minced, and the following spices:
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne
Cook for a minute or two, being careful not to burn the spices. It will look pretty and smell good. Add to the slow cooker and give it a good stir.
Then throw in 1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes. I buy it at the natural food store, in the bulk section. This is what it looks like:
If you can’t find unsweetened coconut, you could buy the sugared stuff and give it a good rinse, but I haven’t tried that.
Stir it all together, turn the crock pot to low, make a cup of tea and trundle off to
knit work on the Hat of Doom.
After six or seven hours, the meat will be incredibly tender. Stir in a half cup of plain yogurt and a good handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts, and it’s ready. I served this with basmati rice.
The flavor’s fantastic. Far more complex and mysterious than you’d expect from such a short list of ingredients. This one’s going to become a favorite, no doubt about it.
And the Hat of Doom? It’s getting there.
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