Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Comfort me with noodles

If you have been reading along this year, you probably noticed I’ve been making a lot of references to the weather. Which makes a lot of sense when you consider this 2014 winter has been the crappiest I’ve experienced since I lived in Edmonton. And when you consider crappy winters are par for the course there, that has to put this atypically cold and miserable T.O. winter in the running for worst winter ever. It's a miserable state with the small comfort of knowing millions of people here and elsewhere are going through the same thing.

So: how about a nice, belly-warming, tongue-tingling bowl of noodles?

This recipe, from my old go-to Nigel Slater’s most recent book Eat, has a lot to recommend it. Cubes of rich, fatty pork, chewy noodles, the numbing heat of Szechuan peppercorns, all balanced with the sweetness of honey and a zap of lime juice. It’s a bit heavy and certainly not going to help you hit your recommended serving of fruits and vegetables (I’d suggest some steamed bok choi on the side), but it’s delicious and comforting. If heat is not your thing, I’d suggest adding fewer Szechuan peppercorns, as they can be a bit overpowering.

Pork belly with lime and Szechuan peppercorns

250 g pork belly, skin removed
2 tsp coarsely ground Szechuan peppercorns,
2 tablespoons honey
¼ fresh lime juice limes
One package thick yellow miki or Shanghai noodles

Cut pork belly into cubes about 3cm thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a pan. When the oil is very hot, add the meat. Brown on all sides, then add Szechuan peppercorns and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add honey and lime juice and cook a bit until mixture starts to thicken.

Add noodles and 4 tablespoons of chopped chives and cook, stirring frequently, until noodles are warm and coated with liquid. Serve with chopped scallions and an extra squeeze of lime juice.

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