It’s November. It’s been cold. It’s been rainy. It’s even been snowy at times. Our house has been passing back and forth a cold that sucks the life out of you. If you are where we are, it’s the perfect time for this Pork Vindaloo, a slow cooked pork dish with plenty of cayenne to clear your sinuses.
I will confess that perhaps the recipe I used — a nice little recipe from the William’s Sonoma Essentials of Slow Cooking Cookbook — called for a wee bit too much cayenne. I say this because my husband — who has been known to dash hot sauce on just about anything edible — declared it to be too spicy. Yikes. Thankfully, this kind disclosure happened before any child happened to sample it.
I need to admit though that I actually enjoyed the dish. On last sunday night when the spice was amped up, I frankly welcomed the endorphin rush that the cayenne provided. My senses were dulled from a terrible cold. Taste and smell diminished, I found it quite satisfying, even exhilarating.
Notably, the spice did not prevent either my husband or I from going back for seconds. Despite the heat, it was still incredibly edible and the flavors of ginger, tumeric, garlic, paprika, cloves and cinnamon were still distinctly there.
Pork Vindaloo is supposed to be a very spicy Indian dish. You should know that the original recipe called for a tsp and a half of cayenne, which seemed like a lot to me when I was making it. Consequently, I cut it back to a tsp. If I made it again, I would use a 1/2 tsp and call it a day. That’s still plenty for an endorphin rush (assuming no terrible cold). And that is how I have changed it for the recipe below. I actually think you could even cut it back to 1/4 or an 1/8 if you wanted to make it milder and feed it to children.
A few other tweaks that I made to the recipe. I used white wine instead of white wine vinegar. I couldn’t find mustard seeds so I used ground mustard instead. And I cut back on the amount of canola oil that you use to saute the meat (I used 1/4 cup, not a 1/2 cup). Finally, the store was out of pork shoulder, so instead I used pork butt. That is a perfectly suitable substitute if you run into the same problem that I did.
I made this fiery dish with sautéed kale with macadamia nuts and long grain brown rice, which was a a nice flavor combo.
I sum, Pork Vindaloo is a dish for the brave of palette. Adjust the cayenne to your taste and preference and sample before serving to children.
- 2½ - 3 lb 1 inch boneless pork shoulder or pork butt cubes, trimmed of excess fat
- Salt and free ground pepper
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 large vidalia or sweet onion
- 6-8 cloves garlic
- 2 in piece cayenne peper
- 1½ tsp ground mustard
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (increase or decrease depending upon taste)
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp hot paprika
- 1½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 1¼ cup chicken broth
- Place the pork cubes in a bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the canola oil. Working in batches, add the pork and cook until browned on all sides.
- Add the onion to the pan and saute until browned, 10-12 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, cayenne, mustard, cumin, paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves and saute until the spices are fragrant and evenly coat the onion, about a minute.
- Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- If cooking on the stove top, transfer to a large dutch oven and pour in the chicken broth. Partially cover and cook for 1½ - 2 hours until tender and sauce has thickened.
- If using a slow cooker, transfer to the slow cooker and pour in the broth. Cover and cook until pork is tender and sauce has thickened. 3 hours on high, 6 hours on low.