When I put the word out that I was using our slow cooker outside on the back deck, looking for ways to keep the kitchen cool on hot summer days, our friend Teneal sent us some of her recipes which she has tried and tested on the balcony of a Tokyo apartment in hot and humid Japanese summers.
She uses an Asian style rice cooker, with a rubber seal on the lid and various cooking settings – this photo is our rice cooker demonstrated by Teneal on her recent visit (complete with photobomb):
I tried the recipes in our slow cooker. Our favourite was the tropical pork with fresh pineapple and oregano.
We used pork spare ribs, cooked on low for approximately 3 hours. Use other cuts of meat if you like, but the fatty cuts work best. If you do have a barbecue, searing the meat on the barbecue after it has cooked in the slow cooker adds some nice flavours and also improves its appearance.
Cooking in the slow cooker produces a lot of liquid, and pork spare ribs are a fatty cut of meat. To manage this, I like to spoon out the juices from the slow cooker into a heat proof jug at the end of the cooking time. Leave the jug in the fridge or freezer for a little while until the layer of fat rises to the surface. You can then skim off the fat and discard appropriately, then pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan or wok and allow it to bubble away and reduce. This makes for a delicious sauce to pour over the meat when served.
A tip from Teneal – fresh pineapple works much better than canned for this dish. Apparently there is something scientific going on with the acids in the pineapple.
This is what it looked like in the slow cooker before cooking:
And then after, served with red quinoa (cooked in the rice cooker), extra fresh pineapple which we seared on the barbecue, and mixed barbecued vegetables (capsicum/peppers, zucchini and carrot), and sprinkled with shallot slices:
Simple and delicious. Thanks Teneal!