Friday, 28 February 2014

Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese {Week 2 of the Grilled Cheese Transformation}

Pulled pork was my find of 2013. Who knew that a reasonably cheap chunk of meat, stuck in a slow-cooker for a long time bathed in sugar could be so delicious. Well, the USA actually. Nevermind, I got there eventually. So when consulting 31 grilled cheeses that are better than a boyfriend the pulled pork grilled cheese from Closet Cooking was a natural choice. I wish I had discovered Closet Cooking when I first moved to Melbourne- an absolute fount of easy recipes that can be achieved in a fairly basic kitchen.

This was an incredibly simple dinner because the slow-cooker sorts out the meat for you and then you just whack it on some bread with cheese and sauce and toast. Great for a slightly healthier alternative to takeaway if you are tired or stressed- and I was both on this occasion.
I really love my recipe for pulled pork adapted from The Londoner so I used it instead of Closet Cooking's.

I made a simple coleslaw-style side dish with what I had in the fridge: grated carrot, julienne apple, shallots and finely chopped baby spinach with a dressing made of aoili and lime juice.

This is a terrible photo but it amused me- look, the carrot stands up by itself!

My 'slaw' pre-dressing

I had the health-guilts so I bought wholemeal bread and perhaps should have added more cheese and smokey BBQ sauce to truly elevate this sandwich to the next level.

Needs to be oozier right? Still, pretty damn tasty.
Grilled cheese rating: 3.5/5

A note on wine and food pairing.
Sweetness in food (pork cooked in cider and sweet smoky BBQ sauce) tends to highlight bitterness, acidity and tannin in wine. I also complicated this pairing by adding lime juice to my salad dressing- acidity in food can made a wine that is low in acidity quite flabby. I am a sucker for crisp acidity in wine so there isn't a lot that I buy that would clash with this second problem, but it is something to be aware of. A reasonable match for food like this would be a slightly off-dry riesling (some richness also balances the heat in the chilli) with a touch of residual sugar to balance the acidity in the wine which in turn flirts with the acidity in the coleslaw dressing. But I was in the mood for red wine. I went for the 2013 Holm Oak 'ilex' Pinot Noir. A superbly well price (under $20) incredibly quaffable pinot from Tasmania. Floral, sweet raspberry and strawberry on the nose and palate, it is light and fresh with crisp acidity and just enough tannin structure to keep you interested. Possibly a touch dry to be a perfect match with lashings of BBQ sauce but a super little summer red to keep an eye out for.
And yep, I didn't polish my glass:)

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