PORK ‘N BEANS WITH SOY AND LEMONADE

     This might sound like a disparate combination of ingredients but the end result is fantastic. Cooking begins with browning onions, adding diced pork belly, soy, lemonade and water, then its left to simmer filling the house with amazing smells. Do try it. One tip, if you are concerned about the vast amount of fat in belly pork, strain the liquid into a canister and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes to speed-solidify the fat making it firm enough to remove. Alternatively make the dish 24 hours in advance and leave the strained liquid/stock in the fridge for the fat to form into a hard disk of white fat. Reheat and add the beans just before serving in bowls with forks and spoons.

Serves 4    

Prep: 30 min

Cook: 90 min

2 large onions

3 tbsp groundnut oil

600-750g meaty belly pork joint or slices

2 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce

3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

200ml lemonade

400ml cold water

500g green beans

250g tagliatelle-style rice noodles (rice sticks)

25g coriander, optional

     Halve, peel and chop the onions. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a spacious sauté pan and brown the onion. Allow at least 15 minutes, stirring often. Use a slotted spoon to scoop into a spacious heavy-bottomed, lidded saucepan. Meanwhile, if using belly joint, run a sharp cooks knife under the pork skin to remove. Cut the meat into kebab-size chunks. Brown in batches in the sauté pan; use remaining oil as necessary. Transfer to the onions as you go. Add the soy to the sauté pan and swirl around to lift any residue. Tip into the onions with the fish sauce, lemonade and water. Season generously with black pepper. Bring to the boil then establish a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 75 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes or so, until the meat is meltingly tender and the sauce slightly reduced. Top and tail, halve and cook the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and stir into the stew. Soak and agitate the noodles in warm water for 10-15 minutes until soft. Drain, cover with boiling water for 2-3 minutes to heat through. If adding coriander, stir it through the noodles with a splash of toasted sesame oil. Serve the noodles in bowls topped with pork‘n beans and the amazing juices.