As most Cypriots, I grew up on vegetables in tomato sauce. Green beans, peas, taro root, potatoes, beans turned into rich casseroles with sweet tomato sauce, herbs and and olive oil. Sometimes these vegetables are cooked with pork. The pork slowly braises in the tomato sauce, becoming meltingly soft and delicious. My inspiration for this dish was one of these traditional dishes, “Bizelia me kreas” as my grandmother would say, which is translated to “Peas with Meat”.
Traditionally this dish is cooked on the stove, but I wanted to try something a bit different with a larger piece of meat. I love roasting things, it gives me more free time to do other stuff (like write down recipes for my blog…). And guess what? No frying! So I took a large piece of pork shoulder as it cooks beautifully in braising liquids. I enriched the tomato sauce with “Commandaria” (sweet Cyprus wine) and flavoured it with some balsamic vinegar.
The dish turned out phenomenal. The pork was melt-in-your-mouth soft and so flavourful. The peas cooked in the pan juices and I think this sums it up. Served with some crusty bread is one of the beat ways to feed a hungry crowd, or one very greedy food blogger!
- 1 x 2.5 kg pork shoulder, bone in
- 1 Tbs sweet paprika
- 3 large onions sliced
- 3 carrots, thickly sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled and bruised with the side of a knife
- 1 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cups grated tomatoes, from a can
- ½ cup “Commandaria” or other sweet wine
- 1 cup dry red wine
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups peas, frozen
Preheat oven to 250 C. Rub paprika all over pork and season liberally with salt and plenty of black pepper. Use your hands to massage the seasoning into the meat. Use gloves if you have to. Place meat in the centre of a baking pan.
Scatter onions, carrots, garlic cloves, dill and bay leaves in the pan, around the piece of pork. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and add the grated tomatoes, Commandaria, red wine, vinegar and chicken broth.
Put pan in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 175 C. Take pan out of the oven and cover it with a piece of greaseproof paper, then a double layer of heavy duty foil. Let no steam escape. Put pan back in the oven and cook for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Take pan out of the oven and uncover. Be careful, steam will be hot. Scatter the frozen peas all around the meat and stir gently with a spoon to mix with the pan juices. Cover pan loosely with the paper and one piece of foil. Continue roasting for 30 minutes more.
Remove bone from pork. You should be able to remove it very easily. Cut meat with a spoon in serving portions. Serve with crusty bread.