Pulled pork is usually made from a large piece of pork shoulder meat on the bone which has been very slowly barbecued or even cooked in a slow cooker, crockpot or oven. The super tender and succulent meat is then easily teased apart in strands with two forks before being served in a burger bun or bread roll with a variety of potential sauces and accompaniments. This recipe is very different in that the pork shoulder meat is actually slow cooked off the bone by braising, before being cooled, shredded and incorporated in a Chinese sauce in a British style puff pastry pastie.
The sauce used in this recipe is a simple supermarket stir fry sauce, widely available in small foil packs or in larger quantities in glass jars. The type of sauce used can be infinitely variable, from curry, to sweet and sour, to virtually any of the more exotic varieties which can be found in different geographical areas.
Ingredients (Makes 8 Mini Pasties)
- 2 boneless pork shoulder steaks (¾ pound meat in total)
- 2 celery sticks
- ½ small white onion
- 1 medium size and strength red chili
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 pint chicken stock
- 1 small sachet Chinese BBQ stir fry sauce (3 or 4 tablespoons)
- 1 pound puff pastry
- 1 small egg
Wash, trim and roughly chop the celery sticks. Wash, top and roughly chop the chili. The onion should be peeled and the half halved again.
Lay the pork shoulder steaks whole in the base of a large pot. Add the celery, onion, chili, whole black peppercorns and some salt. Pour in the chicken stock, ensure everything is comfortably covered (adding more stock or even water, if necessary) and put the pot on to a high heat until the stock just starts to boil.
Put the lid on the pot and adjust the heat to maintain as gentle a simmer as possible for three hours. Check the liquid level every half hour or so and top up with boiling water if necessary.
When the simmering time is up, the pork should be extremely tender so a large slotted spoon is best used to lift it to a deep plate to prevent it breaking up. Cover it and leave it for about an hour to cool completely.
Just as with preparing pulled pork in a more conventional sense, two forks are best for teasing the strands of the meat slowly apart and achieving the desired effect.
Take your time shredding the pork to ensure no chunks of meat remain and you will soon be left with a surprisingly large quantity of pulled pork meat.
If time is against you, the pulled pork can be refrigerated overnight in a suitable dish and the pasties proper prepared on day two. Do ensure however that the meat is removed from the fridge a minimum half hour before it is mixed through the sauce to allow it to reach room temperature.
The quantity of sauce in this pack proved to be exactly what was required to evenly coat the pork. If measuring out the sauce from such as a glass jar, start with three tablespoons. It is important not to add too much as there should be no liquid sauce remaining in the combination.
Mix the sauce through the pork with a wooden spoon. If necessary, add a little more and stir again.
It's a lot easier to prepare the pasties in batches rather than rolling all the pastry out at once. Cut it in to four equal portions and roll out the first portion on a floured surface to prepare the first two pasties.
A five inch diameter soup bowl made a perfect cutting template. You can use any round item of similar diameter. Lay it on the pastry and cut around it with a sharp knife.
Put a couple of teaspoons of the pork mix on one half of each pastry circle as shown, leaving a border around the edge for crimping. Beat the egg in a small bowl and lightly brush the semi-circular pastry edge.
Fold the empty half of each pastry circle over the filling and lightly press down on the unfilled edge to seal.
Carefully crimp the pastie edges with two fingers all the way along. Roll out the next piece of pastry and follow the same steps again.
When the pasties are all prepared, cut a small steam vent in the top of each and sit on a plate for the pastry to rest while you preheat your oven to 425F/210C/Gas Mark 7.
Lightly oil a deep baking or roasting tray and sit the pasties on it, trying to ensure no two of them are touching. Glaze evenly all over with more beaten egg and bake for twenty-five to thirty minutes until pastry is golden.
When the pasties come out of the oven, it is vital that they be rested before being tasted. This is not simply to prevent them burning your mouth but to allow the pulled pork to once again become tender. The best way to rest them is to sit them on a wire rack and allow them a minimum fifteen minutes. Alternatively, you can leave them longer and enjoy them every bit as much served cold.
These pasties are delicious served as a main meal (two per person) with perhaps fries and an accompanying vegetable. They are equally delicious eaten on their own for lunch, as a party snack or perhaps as part of a picnic or fishing trip food hamper.