Slow-cooked pork shoulder banh mi with pickles and lime juice

FullSizeRender (34)Our weekend ritual involves a visit to Brockley Market, which has an excellent line-up of food trucks. Our current obsession is Bill or Beak – specifically the Bill, which is shredded duck and pork with coriander, spring onions, mint and chilli, plus some tempura shallots in a grilled brioche bun. On Friday we start anxiously scanning the Twitter feeds to check if we can get our fix.

Eventually, I decided to see if I could make an approximation of it at home. It’s not quite the same but it is extremely tasty. The pork shoulder is adapted from a recipe by Garden Betty as are the carrot and daikon pickles.

To assemble you will need a portion each of slow-cooked pork and pickles (details below). You will also need:
8 soft bread rolls or baguettes
2 handfuls of mint leaves
small bunch coriander on the stem
sliced cucumber
3-4 limes

FullSizeRender (37)Pork
2 thumbs ginger
2 stalks lemongrass
1 birdseye chilli
6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 kg pork shoulder, fat trimmed

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Put the ginger, lemongrass, chilli and garlic in a food processor blend into a paste. Don’t stand too close when you take the lid off as the mixture will make your eyes water. Pour the sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and fish sauce into a slow cooker or a cast iron cooking pot and put on a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the garlic paste and stir to combine. Lower the pork reverently into the mixture, partly to avoid splashing ginger, chilli and vinegar into your eye, then ladle some of the mixture over, cover with a lid and put into the oven. Take it out about every hour and turn the meat over, making you sure you put the lid back on tightly each time. Cook for at least four hours and up to 12 hours.

FullSizeRender (36)Carrot and Daikon Pickles
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
250g mixed daikon and carrots
Small handful of salt

Cut the daikon and carrots into matchsticks and toss with salt in a bowl or colander. The salt to draws moisture from the vegetables, which will pool in the bottom of the bowl. In the meantime, put the rice vinegar, water and sugar in a small pan on a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then set aside to cool. When the vegetables have been sitting for half an hour, rinse off the salt, then put them in a bowl or jar and pour over the pickling liquid. Leave them at room temperature for an hour or two to let the flavour develop, then put them in the fridge.

FullSizeRender (33)Assembly
Shred the pork in the pot and integrate with the cooking juices. Split the rolls and toast them in a hot grill pan. Pile on the pork, cucumber, pickles, coriander, mint and a squeeze of lime juice. Don’t share this with the kids unless they are tolerant of spicy food (and maybe not even then).

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