For a number of years now, my husband and I have been obsessing over a recipe in Nigel Slater’s Eat for a chicken, leek and fennel braise. We make it all the time, and it is so tasty with some couscous on the side. This recipe is inspired by Nigel Slater’s recipe, but cooked in the slow cooker in a large batch for added convenience – both time saving and it makes an extra meal for the freezer stores.
As my baby is starting to be able to eat what our family eats, I have been starting to create recipes that will be adaptable for his meals as well. This saves doubling up on the cooking, and ensures that the transition to family dinners will be simple! Once his portion was put aside, I added pomegranate molasses for added depth of flavour and yumminess.
Pork, fennel and leek braise
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1.5kg pork loin roast
- 1 leek, halved and sliced
- 1 fennel, thinly sliced
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 1 ½ cups low salt liquid chicken stock
- 1 tbs pomegranate molasses
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup giant couscous to serve
- Heat the slow cooker up to ‘sear’ function or use a fry pan for this first step. Heat the olive oil and sear the pork on all sides until golden.
- Add the leek and fennel, and toss to soften for several minutes. Add the flour.
- Add the chicken stock and 1 ½ cups boiling water, then turn the heat down and cook on ‘slow cook’ function for 3 hours.
- Once cooked, remove the meat and vegetables to a saucepan and cover to keep warm. At this point, remove a portion for pureeing for baby if applicable. Turn the heat on the sauce up to ‘sear’ function again and reduce, adding the pomegranate molasses and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the liquid by approximately half, so that it will form a thick coating on the meat and vegetables.
- Add the meat and vegetables back to the liquid, and serve on a bed of giant couscous cooked according to packet instructions with chicken stock. Top with fronds of fennel for garnish.
I lived in the UK with my husband for a year. It was a wonderful time – we met lots of friends from all over the world, we travelled around Europe and never stopped learning new things. Also, we tried a lot of new foods!
We lived in Cambridge and we were often catching the train into London. When I made my pork pasties below, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the many trains we caught that year. The wafting smell of pastry coming from my kitchen brought back memories of waiting at a train platform, with a little Cornish pasties stand down the way. I’m not sure many would, but I admit the pasties always smelt inviting, no matter the time of day. Warm, flaky, juicy and with so many comforting flavours.
My pasty’s flavours are inspired by the ingredients we receive in our veg box each week; an Asian cooking box from CERES Fairfood. They make for a lovely winter’s lunch or a light dinner, with little in the way of preparation.
Pork pasties with chilli, lime and coriander
- 250g pork mince
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2cm ginger, finely chopped
- 2 tbs fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1 spring onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1 tbs fish sauce
- 1 tbs sugar
- 2 sheets store-bought puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
- Combine all the ingredients except for the puff pastry and egg in a mixing bowl.
- On a worktop, cut the pastry sheets in half lengthwise.
- Spoon in one quarter of the mixture onto one half of a pastry sheet (mentally divide the pastry sheet lengthwise). Spread it evenly along the half lengthwise.
- Fold the pastry over the filling and crimp the edges to seal. They can be baked flat, but I stood mine up with the crimped edge in the middle, because I thought they looked prettier this way.
- Place the pasties onto a greased baking tray.
- Brush the pasties with the beaten egg.
- Bake in an oven at 180° Celsius until golden (approx. 20 mins).
- Serve with a salad of lettuce, capsicum and cucumber topped with sprigs of fresh mint and coriander.