SICHUAN PORK DUMPLINGS

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Weekly Planner -

“Dou­ble this recipe and freeze half to have a ready- made meal on hand.” SERVES 6- 8 (MAKES 40)

Chilli vine­gar

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.

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