Every Tuesday is Croatian Tuesday in my house. As I love to cook food from all over the world I sometimes forget to cook food that I grew up eating. So to keep my own traditions going and to make sure my kids are exposed to Croatian food, I decided to cook Croatian at least once a week. Well this particular Tuesday I had this planned to make this, but last minute I decided to make my Ajngemahtec soup, which is a hearty soup, so I figured I don't need to make this. So the following day I looked at the recipe I found in Bakina Kuhinja (a magazine my mother in law collects for me in Croatia), and after a few changes to the ingredients list and a total change on how I was making it, this was the end result.
The pork here is soft and juicy and just plain delicious. Sometimes I pound the pork first, sometimes I don't, both ways it's great, I guess if you pound it, it is softer. The sauce they could not get enough of, for something so easy, this was fabulous. And when I say easy, this is crazy easy, a few simple ingredients, simple and quick cooking, it's a 30 minute meal.
This is perfect with a soft polenta, but if you don't like polenta, mashed potato would work to.
With the wine, just something you like to drink, just not a sweet wine.
Now making polenta is labour intensive, you get an arm workout like no other. My mum, in her 70's now, still mixes the polenta from start to finish on her own, I however enlist the help of my son who's 18. and we take turns stirring the polenta for the 30-45 minutes needed to cook it properly. My mother would never use instant polenta, she says it's no where near the same.
Also have a kettle full of boiled water ready, if your polenta while cooking, feels too thick, you can add a little boiling water to it, to loosen it up, if needed.
So if you want to try something new, that's easy and delicious. This recipe is for you.
30ml sunflower oil, for frying
6 pork neck slices, about 1cm thick
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons plain flour
1/3 bunch parsley, to taste, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon vegeta, to taste
1/3 cup white wine
1.5 litres water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
300g coarse polenta
Season the pork slices with salt and pepper on both sides. Dust both sides with flour.
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat. If possible use a pan that can fit all the pork slices in one go, otherwise, do it in batches.
When the pan is hot, place the pork slices in and fry them for 5 minutes on each side. You want to get a nice colour on the meat here. Remove from the pan and set aside until needed.
Add in the garlic and parsley, sauté it briefly (about 20 seconds), then add the paprika and tomato paste, stir for about 20 seconds. Now add the water, vegeta and wine.
When it comes to the boil, return the meat in a single layer, or slightly overlapping, and simmer covered for 10 minutes.
Now turn the meat over and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to reduce the liquid into a sauce. This time uncovered. Any parts of the meat not in the sauce in the first half of the cooking, should be on the bottom and in the sauce now, if you have overlapping bits.
Meanwhile make the polenta: Put the water and salt in a large pot and bring to the boil. Add polenta in a steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat down to low and cook the polenta for approximately 30 minutes, stirring from time to time. When the polenta comes away from the sides of the pot, it is cooked.
Now if you would like your sauce reduced more, I didn't, but if you do, just remove the meat from the pan, cover loosely with foil to keep it warm. And allow the sauce to simmer away, over a high heat, until reduced to your liking, takes about 5 minutes. Once it is to your liking, you can return the meat to the sauce to reheat if needed, or just pour the sauce over your meat on a serving plate, if your meat is still hot.
Serves with polenta.
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