On our way driving from Brisbane to our Noosa holiday destination last week, we stopped at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast for a bite to eat. We'd been travelling since 9am and the 'food' served on the flight did little to fill our bellies. Surveying the various restaurants and cafés along the Esplanade, the menu at Hot Pipis caught our attention.
Peter choose the Pulled Pork Sliders served with battered onion rings, while I opted for a steak sandwich, which was the special of the day. Taking a small bite of my man's lunch, as you do, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavours of the sage butter and the cranberry sauce, which enhanced the pork rather deliciously. Better still, there was none of that often rather horrid (methinks) coleslaw mixture that seems to be the standard accompaniment on a pork slider these days. I promised Peter and myself that I would try my hand at making my own version of the dish once we got home.
The sage butter and the spiced cranberry sauce...
To my mind, the stars of this dish accompanying the slow-roasted pork are the sage butter and the spiced cranberries, and I am delighted to share my recipes with you. I can truly label them as good things! Enjoy xo
2-3 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon softened butter
Combine the chopped sage leaves and the butter, and set aside until ready to use.
SPICED CRANBERRY SAUCE A LA LIZZY
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon champagne wine and strawberry vinegar+
1 whole star anise
Combine the dried cranberries, water, cinnamon, vinegar and star anise in a small saucepan. Gently bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the cranberries are plump. Add a little more water to prevent the sauce from catching. Allow to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Remove the star anise before serving.
+ If you don't have champagne wine and strawberry vinegar, use another fruit infused vinegar or wine vinegar instead.
The slow-roasted pork...
Inspired by mouthwatering recipes for pulled pork from Johnnie Mountain author of Pig: cooking with a passion for pork; and my friend Celia, who blogs at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, I slow roasted a two kilogram boneless shoulder of pork to tender perfection. My recipe is adapted from Johnnie's Eight-hour roast shoulder of pork, which in my high-tech new Fisher & Paykel oven, took only five hours at 130 degrees C.
SLOW-ROASTED PORK SHOULDER
2kg boneless pork shoulder, boned, skin scored, tied with string
2-3 teaspoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 celery stalks
2 carrots, sliced lengthways
1 large brown onion, cut into quarters
1 lemon, sliced thinly
juice of a lemon extra
250ml dry white wine
1-2 cups water, for the pan
2-3 potatoes, if desired
Preheat your oven to 220 degrees C. Pat the skin of the pork shoulder dry with paper towelling, then rub the olive oil all over it. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the skin. Grind the fennel seeds and sea salt together with a small mortar and pestle, or spice grinder, add the black pepper, and then rub this spice mixture all over the pork, making sure it gets into the scored skin.
Place the carrot, celery, lemon slices and onion into the base of a roasting pan. Sit the roast on top and pop into the hot oven, roasting for 30 minutes until the skin starts to crackle. Now, turn the oven down to 130 degrees C and pour the white wine into the base of the pan. Roast for around five to eight hours, rotating the pan during cooking if needed to allow even browning; and adding water to the base of the pan as needed to keep the meat moist. Add the potatoes in the last hour of cooking if you wish. The pork is ready when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F and the meat is tender and can be 'pulled' with a fork. Serve the meat sliced with the roasted vegetables and baked apple. The remainder of the roast can be used for pulled pork buns and other good things.
Put them all together...
PULLED PORK BUNS WITH SAGE BUTTER & SPICED CRANBERRIES A LA LIZZY
150-180g pulled pork meat, warmed
1 tablespoon Crème fraîche+
sea salt and cracked black pepper
6 tiny dinner rolls or brioche buns*
sage butter (see above)
spiced cranberry sauce (see above)
Combine the pulled pork meat with the Crème fraîche, salt and pepper. Spread the buns with the sage butter. Pile on the pork meat and top with the spiced cranberry sauce. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3 as a small bite.
* Bake your own if you have time. Katie Quinn-Davies from What Katie Ate has a recipe for mini brioche buns here.
+ I have successfully substituted the Crème fraîche with mascarpone, but you can also use sour cream.
Tell me, do you like to 'swap bites' with your partner when you are dining out? And do you enjoy replicating dishes you've eaten out in your kitchen back at home?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.