Sounds weird. And looks even weirder. But trust me. It works. Pork neck is the latest “Forgotten Cut” that I’ve stumbled across not selling very well in Waitrose. I bought a kilo of pork neck for around four quid and got very excited when I found out that some people regard it as a very special cut. It is richly seamed with fat, not unlike a good rib eye or a feather blade which means it is almost impossible to dry out. Like a blade, you can either cook it super fast or nice and slow.
Feeling inspired by Niamh’s pork loin cooked in milk from the River Café and Moro cookbooks, I decided to extend the idea a bit further. Niamh slow cooked her pork in whole milk with bay and cinnamon which I could almost smell as I read it. But what I was smelling quickly morphed into masala chai which I guzzled by the gallon in Zanzibar. I wondered what would happen if I dropped the bay and instead added cloves, star anise, peppercorns and lots of cardamom to my cinnamon. There was only one way to find out.
1 pork neck 2 litres of whole milk 4 star anise 10 cardamom pods 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns 2 sticks of cinnamon 8 cloves Knob of ginger Salt
Stage 1. Season the neck fillet and sear until golden.
Stage 2. Place neck in a slow cooker with the spices and milk.
Stage 3. Simmer for 3 hours until the pork is tender.
Stage 4. Transfer pork into an oven dish and blast for 20 minutes to help the milk to caramelise.
Serve with rice and greens.
I wish it looked better. Unfortunately it doesn’t photograph well. So you’ll have to believe me when I tell you that it is delicious. The meat was moist, tender and full of porky flavour. Meanwhile the chai spices gave a very subtle flavour to the sauce with the cardamom leading the way, just as it does in spiced tea. I am now a big pork neck fan and am looking forward to experimenting with it in different recipes. Let me know if you’ve got any cracking ideas for it.
We still love to go on trips around the UK, staying in BnBs or camping in search of a good meal or two - hence, Around Britain with a Paunch. Quite often the trips have been prompted by Diana Henry's Gastro Pub Cookbook. Here's where we've been to: