Yesterday I had the final portion of a pork casserole sat in the fridge, screaming to be eaten, and lunchtime seemed as good a time as any.
This dish is probably best described as jam-packed with bold flavours – smoked bacon cubes, paprika, smoked paprika, sauerkraut, onions, a veritable fist-full of roasted garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil.
It had body thanks to the inclusion of finely diced carrot and celery, as well as larger cubes of swede / rutabaga.
The star of the show, however, is undoubtedly the pork – fatty chunks of pork stewing meat, gently simmered for about an hour and a half until fall-apart tender.
The only question was which tea should I drink with it?
I’ve often read that Pu-erh is popular in Hong Kong because it works well with the fatty content found in dim sum dishes. Sounds a good match for this dish. I was also hoping that the earthy, warm tones of the Pu-erh would accentuate the similar flavours in the food.
The Pu-erh in question is an off-the-shelf variety I buy from one of our Chinese supermarkets in town. It’s a generic, loose leaf, ripe / cooked / Shu Pu-erh, fairly cheap to buy.
Given the size of the leaf, it can be fairly fiddly to steep in a gaiwan, so I usually steep it Western style in a medium sized clay pot, and using a large paper tea filter.
As with all tea-water I run it through the Brita filter first, and then bring it to a full-on boil before steeping the tea with it. My personal preference is for 3 teaspoons for a 500ml pot.
The first infusion comes out deep cherry red, with that familiar clean, mushroomy, forest-floor taste you want in a Pu-erh.
Experience has shown that using this technique this tea is good for 3 infusions, after which it starts to weaken somewhat. The picture at the top of this page was taken after the 3rd. infusion.
This particular combination of tea and food certainly worked well enough for my taste. They complimented each other well, and as expected the tea acted as a good palate cleanser. File under “do this again!”.