Tuesday, 5 October 2010


I realise now that you can't see the pork very well in this photo, but it was shredded and sticky and very nice

Apart from bacon and sausages, I don't cook pork that much. I've never eaten it in a form that wasn't quite tough and a bit tasting-of-nothing and I was traumatised at about 13 while reading Alive that when cooked, people taste like pork. It put me right off.

But this slow-cook goulash recipe that I found in Jamie at Home, surrenders a shoulder or leg of pork to something totally edible, that doesn't have the mouthfeel of a Uruguayan rugby player.

Goulash, if you've never had it, is usually made with beef, I think, and is a rich, smoky thing made with a lot of peppers and tomatoes. Very autumnal and, I believe the word I'd use if I was a proper cookery writer and not just a half-educated, semi-psychotic, spiritual alcoholic is "fragrant".

I missed out so many ingredients in this that it hardly counts as Jamie's recipe any more. Below is the ghoulash as I made it, which worked excellently well and I was really pleased with it - if you want to get hold of the original recipe, it is very conveniently located on Jamie Oliver's excellent website, or on p.257 of Jamie At Home.

This takes three hours to cook, but it works.

For 2 very hungry people, or for 4 less hungry, with rice.

650g pork shoulder or leg, skin off, fat left on
2 sweet peppers, sliced
2 chillies, chopped (you can probably leave the seeds of one in - or both if you like. The 3-hour cooking time seems to knock the shite out of the seeds' heat)
2 red onions, finely sliced
1 heaped tablespoon smoked paprika
1 can plum tomatoes
1/2 a jar of grilled peppers in oil

for on top:
soured cream
chopped lemon zest
chopped flat parsley

1 Set the oven to 180C. Heat some oil in a deep casserole pan and score the fat on your pork in a criss-cross diamond shape. Season with salt and pepper. On a low-medium flame, cook the pork fat-side down for 15 minutes.

2 Remove from the pan and add the onions, chilli, paprika, a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the heat right down and cook for ten minutes until the onions are soft.  Add the sliced peppers, grilled peppers and tomatoes. Put the pork back into the pot - sort of wriggle it down in between the peppers and tomatoes - and pour in enough water to just cover the meat.

3 At this point I was going to add a tablespoon of cider vinegar but clean forgot. I wish I had, so you  might if you do this. Bring to the boil on the hob and then put in the oven for 3 hours with a lid on.

4 Wander off and do something else. Then come back about half an hour before it's ready and cook some rice, open a pot of soured cream and chop up some parsley and lemon zest.

5 When the pot comes out of the oven, attack the pork in the pot with two forks to shred the meat before serving.

Like all stews, this re-heats and freezes very well.

Eat and try not to think about planes crashing.


  1. I had Goulash once at a silver wedding anniversary... it was lovely. I have a guest for dinner tomorrow. I might put this on the 'maybe' list. Then see what I fancy cooking tomorrow and go to Waitrose :)

  2. gosh you're knocking them out this week aren't you? wonder if this works with quorn?

  3. What type of rice did you use for this (as shown in the photo?)

    P.S I'm a 17 year old student but absolutely LOVE cooking and your blog! Both you and Giles (in the Times) are very amusing writers!

  4. Hi Rebecca

    This is red Camargue rice, the one used here is by Gallo, which is a French brand, but you can get own-brand red rices too.

    It's a very nutty-tasting rice and my favourite kind xxx

  5. Thanks for your reply Esther!

    Do you have any flapjack recipes? I made some today that went totally wrong (I guess it was my punishment not for studying), the chocolate melted into them then they bubbled instead of going hard! (it was a Mary Berry recipe, usually so reliable!)

    :) x

  6. Yikes! I wonder what went wrong... sounds like she maybe overcomplicated things. I haven't made flapjacks for years, but it's just oats and golden syrup, isn't it...? If in doubt: Delia. xx

  7. Hi Esther

    I made this last night, after having it on my list of things to try for a whole year! It was amazing, I loved it, Graeme loved it (even though he said he felt like we had the oven on for about 2 days), we agreed it was a 'make again' which is high praise indeed in our house. We had ours with baked potatoes, we decided if we were going to have the oven on for that long we might as well throw a couple of potatoes in there to bake as well. DELICIOUS.


    Elaine xx

    p.s. I am having an awful day at work, including crying twice before lunchtime - one time in front of my boss!! So I've come on here to cheer myself up. :-)

  8. Elaine I'm very sorry to hear you're having a bad day. Crying once at work is bad enough. But i'm very pleased this worked out for you. I made it the other day for my husband and managed to really burn it to piss despite following the recipe so I'm pleased it's working for other people nevertheless.