Thịt Lợn Dán (Pork Pâté)

Ingredients:
  • 1½ kg pork belly, skin and bones removed. Cut into 2-3cm (1 in) pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
  • ½ tsp 5-Spice
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1tbsp fresh Basil Anise leaves
Method:
  1. With a small, sharp knife make a cross in the top of firm tomatoes, and remove the little core where the stalk was attached. Drop tomatoes into a pan of rapidly boiling water for 10-12 seconds and remove with a perforated spoon into cold water. The skins should easily peel away, if not drop them back into the water for a few more seconds. The tomatoes can then be cut in half, the seeds squeezed out and the flesh diced up ready to cook. 
  2. Put all the meat, tomato flesh, garlic and spices other than the basil into a heavy-bottomed pan, pour in 150ml of cold water and gently bring the contents of the pan up to a simmer. *Cover with a lid and simmer very gently 3 to 3? hours. Stir occasionally and add a little more water as the liquid evaporates. The meat is done when it's falling apart. Add the basil for about 2 minutes to extract the flavour.
  3. Strain the contents of the pan and discard the liquid. Allow to cool a little and remove the bay leaves.
  4. With a fork or fingers break up the pieces of meat into shreds; any large remaining pieces of fat will have to be chopped up with a knife or homogenised in a blender. 
  5. Transfer into a clean bowl, then mix in enough of the strained and homogenised fat to form a creamy paste. At this stage check the seasoning and add a little more salt and pepper if required.
  6. Serve this on any base you wish with pickled carrot and daikon as a garnish. 
  7. Any remaining mixture may be placed into little individual pots, a sterilised Kilner or Clip Top jar or a suitable serving dish. Spoon a little more fat on top, especially if you plan to keep it for some time. Store refrigerated
*An alternative to the stove top simmering is to use an appropriate heavy based oven pan and allow to cook for the 3 hours in a preheated oven at 150°C. The evaporation will be less but still check periodically and replenish the water as needed

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