Slow cooked meats are very much in vogue at the moment. Pulled pork, beef carnitas, slow roasted shoulders and similar are on menus across the land. Some of this is inspired by the current rise of ‘American Diner Cuisine’ and its little brother Dude Food and some by the desire for cooks and chefs to be thriftier in using old fashioned cuts of meat and cooking techniques. The Slow Food movement has a lot to answer for, not the least of which is that it’s sometimes hard to allocate time to slow food in otherwise fast times.
When I was invited* to the launch on Sun Pork‘s range of slow cooked and shredded meats, I was dubious. I thought the meat would be over processed, be dry or taste fake. Just because I didn’t have time to spare to slow cook that pork shoulder for 8 hours, season and shred it didn’t mean I wanted to buy an ingredient that was a shadow of what it should be. How wrong I was.
The slow cooked beef, chicken and pork comes in 250g packs and when the packet is opened the meat is juicy and fresh. They are surprisingly low in fat (95% fat free) and when I asked about the salt content, which I expected to be through the roof, it once again came in at a respectable level. This not only makes it a relatively healthy ingredient, it also means that adding extra seasonings doesn’t make the dish too salty or strong.
A lunch showcased what you can make using ingredients you’re likely to have in your fridge or pantry plus the addition of the shredded meats. Pastry rounds with beef were turned into little calzone, all three were combined with kaffir lime and pickled ginger to create a san choy bau style dish, and of course, the pork was combined with avocado, coriander and corn tortilla for a little trip down over the border. We also enjoyed warm salads such as the Shredded Chicken w Roasted Beets & Walnut Pesto. Nothing fake or average about these dishes.
Sun Pork are a Queensland business that alongside farmer owned processing plant Swickers, located in the peanut capital of Kingaroy, grow and process local and interstate pork for the domestic and overseas markets. This is their first venture into ‘pre pack’ style meats, identifying the growing trend in slow cooked and pulled meats. They did lots of research and market testing to determine that Australian palates enjoy moist but not overly sauced meats. Australian cooks prefer to tweak the base products with their own flavours and extras.
After the impressive menu selection at the launch, I decided to adapt a Donna Hay recipe for Coconut Pancakes I make regularly for parties to see how the products stood up to the test. The dish worked brilliantly and I believe you’d be hard pressed to know the key ingredient was from a packet. Shortcuts are what I’m all about when catering parties.
Coconut Pancakes w Peking Pork
- 125g Sun Pork shredded bbq pork
- 1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
- 2 tbsp cup char siu or plum sauce
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp palm sugar, grated or brown sugar
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 cup coriander leaves (do not shred)
- 1 continental cucumber
- 3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- Slice cucumber into batons, sprinkle with salt and place in colander. Press cucumber down with a bowl, place colander in sink and allow salt to release some of cucumber juice.
- Combine pork, five spice, char siu/plum sauce and spring onions in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine rice flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl, make a well and add coconut milk, egg, sugar and ginger. Whisk well to form smooth batter.
- Mix sugar with vinegar in a shallow bowl. Rinse cucumber and place in vinegar mixture and set aside.
- Heat a non stick frying pan and spray with cooking spray if desired. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter into a heated pan to form a small pancake, 10cm in diameter. Place 2 – 3 coriander leaves on top.
- Cook until edges start to crisp and small bubbles start to appear in the coconut pancakes. Turn and cook other side.
- Remove the coconut pancakes from the pan and place on paper towel on a plate in a very low oven (50c). Repeat with remaining batter.
- Whilst making second last pancake, drain cucumber of vinegar.
- Whilst making last coconut pancake, cover and place the bowl of pork in the microwave and heat for a minute or until mixture is warm.
- Assemble coconut pancakes by placing side with coriander leaves face down on bench, lay a baton of cucumber and spoonful of pork mixture on top and roll so coriander is on outside of pancake.
- Serve to admiring and unsuspecting friends and family.
Makes 12 – 15 canapés
As another party alternative, mix shredded beef with a sweet tomato and capsicum relish and a dollop of creme fraiche atop my quick potato blini style pancakes.
At the moment, Sun Pork Shredded Meats are stocked exclusively by Woolworths and cost $5.99 for 250g. This is more than enough for 3 pizzas or 2 pizzas and a few sandwiches for work the next day, 4 generous salads or if you use the recipe above, a dozen canapés with half a packet left over. The products have a shelf life of approximately 4 weeks and can be frozen for use at a later time.
*TIFFIN attended the tasty launch of Sun Pork Shredded Meats as a media guest of Cocom Communications