A tender cut of meat with a side of chard dressed in chilli and cider vinaigrette
4 pork collar steaks (about 200-250g each)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
For the purée:
600g butternut squash
2 tbsp cold pressed rapeseed oil
Juice of ¼ lemon
For the chard:
800g swiss or rainbow chard
2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 tsp caster sugar
2 tbsp light olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 small shallot (40g), very finely diced
1 mild red chilli, very finely diced
Brine the pork steaks overnight, as per the paprika pork recipe—just without the paprika.
Get the side dishes prepared and cooked/cooking before thinking about cooking the pork. To make the squash purée (which can be done well in advance), preheat the oven to 220C. Peel and deseed the butternut squash, then cut it into rough 3-4cm dice. Spread them out in a roasting tin or baking tray and drizzle the oil over the top. Mix well so that each piece is well coated, then roast on the top shelf for about 35 mins, or until the flesh is tender, shrunken a little and caramelised at the edges. Turn the pieces over once or twice during cooking.
Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to a blender with the butter and 70ml just-boiled water. It’s important that the squash is still warm, so that the butter melts into it and blends easily. Pulse and blitz until silky smooth and light, adding a little more water if necessary. Depending on the power of your blender, you may need to scrape down and cajole the contents occasionally.
Scrape the purée from the blender (every last bit) and season with salt and just a squeeze of lemon. The purée is not supposed to taste citrusy, but try it before and after adding the lemon and you’ll notice how it just lifts things a little.
For the chard, begin by preparing the vinaigrette. Put the sugar, olive oil, cider vinegar, a pinch of salt and 2 tsp tepid water in a bowl or jar and stir or shake well to emulsify. Add the shallot and chilli. Put a third of the dressing into a large serving bowl.
Trim the chard stems and leaves to remove any unsightly bits. Remove the thick stems from the leaves. Chop the stems into 3cm lengths and set aside, then cut the leaves into large pieces about 8-12cm wide.
Next, cook the pork steaks. Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan (ideally one that will fit a lid from one of your saucepans) on the hob and turn it to medium-high. Add the vegetable oil and allow it to heat for 30 secs before placing the (fridge cold) steaks in the pan. Cook for 2 mins without turning, then flip them over and cook for 2 mins more. Turn again and add the butter, which should immediately froth.
Cook the steaks for a further 45-60 secs on each side, then remove and rest them on a warm plate for 5 mins while you cook the chard.
Finally, cook the chard using a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, saucepan or wok over a high heat. Add the oil and allow it to heat up. Add the chard stems and cook for 90 sec,s pushing them around a few times so they don’t catch and burn. Add the leaves and garlic. Cook for 90 secs longer, moving the chard around the pan so all the pieces get a little heat, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go. Remove from the pan once two thirds of the leaves have wilted; the rest will cook in the residual heat.
Tip the chard into the serving bowl containing one third of the vinaigrette and toss well. Transfer to a serving platter and spoon the rest of the vinaigrette liberally over the top, serve with the hot puree and pork steaks carved into thick slices.
Recipe: Ed Smith
Image: John Holdship