SICHUAN PORK DUMPLINGS
“Double this recipe and freeze half to have a ready- made meal on hand.” SERVES 6- 8 (MAKES 40)
THE UNITED STATES The US eats about 83 per cent less pork than China, but that’s still enough to put it in second place on the global pork-lover rankings. Look at American recipe sites and much of this seems to be consumed as chops – pork chops with mash, pork chops with Germanstyle red cabbage, pork chops with the beautifully named ‘red eye gravy’ that’s little else than a reduction of pan drippings, brown sugar and leftover percolator coffee. There’s also meatloaf and a whole world of Southern barbecue that’s been embraced across the country.
And then there’s that great invention of US hipsterdom to rival bacon-washed bourbon served in a Mason jar with a kale chip garnish: bacon jam! Yes, it’s a thing and it’s delicious: slowly cook down 500 grams of bacon with garlic, onions, chipotle, maple syrup, brown sugar, cider vinegar and some cold brew. Think of it as a thick, chunky bacon ketchup to serve on everything from breakfast corn cakes to your late-night burger with sriracha mayo. consumption in six years. Pigs have held a venerated position in Italy ever since the ancient Romans started breeding them and, according to the leading Italian farmers union, Coldiretti, this upturn in 2018 was in no small part due to many vegans reconsidering their diet choices. The percentage of the population following a vegan diet dropped from three per cent in 2017 to just 0.9 per cent. Still, if you’re going to renege on your commitment to cruelty-free living what better excuse than Italy’s dizzying range of cold cuts, meatballs, the famed porcetta and internationally revered pasta dishes such as carbonara and amatriciana.
For something a little different, try one of the dishes that expresses the full genius of Italian cooking (according to Italian food great Marcella Hazan): pork braised in milk. Brown the meat in butter and olive oil, then braise it very slowly in a little milk, adding more as the sauce thickens, until you end up with tender, juicy pork and a sauce made of clusters of caramelised milk. Oh, my!
AUSTRALIA As one of the highest-ranking meat consumers per capita – Australia ranks third behind the US and Kuwait in some studies – this nation is no slouch in the princely province of pork. We devour roast pork with crackling, snags sizzled on the barbie, sausage rolls, pea and ham soup and, best of all for me, bacon sarnies – crisp streaky bacon laid to rest between fluffy slices of white bread and butter, further cosseted in your favourite sauce, whether tomato, thick sweet-sour barbecue or something more exotic like my pineapple ketchup that uses Aussie pineapple from the Sunshine state. Yes, it might be a little bit bogan but the bacon will be the first to agree that there’s nothing wrong with that. For Matt’s recipe for pineapple ketchup and his many recipes celebrating pork go to delicious.com.au.