The idea for cooking pork in dandelion & burdock came to my while I was sitting on a park bench eating a bag of chips. I nearly always have a can of dandelion & burdock with fish and chips, and for whatever reason this time it occurred to me that the sweet aniseed taste would make a good sauce to go with pork.
I'd heard about a South African dish of chicken cooked in coca cola. So pork in dandelion & burdock didn't seem too outrageous. And on the most recent series of Masterchef the winner, Tim Anderson, had done a dish of belly pork braised in coca cola. It was his recipe that I referred to for the technique for my recipe.
I started of by browning a 600g piece of belly pork in a frying pan and heated the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Whilst doing that I made up my braising liquor:
450ml dandelion & burdock
100ml rice wine vinegar
100ml soy sauce
2 star anise
1 heaped teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder
1 hot chilli (pierced and left whole)
1 cinnamon stick
With the pork browned on all sides I poured the liquid into the frying pan and brought it to a boil. Then I gave the meat a quick baste and put it in the oven to cook for a couple of hours, basting every 20 minutes. After cooking I let the meat rest for 15 minutes whilst cooking some rice and spring greens. I also reduced the braising liquor to a thick sauce.
I hesitate to use the word triumph, but it did taste really good. The meat was juicy and tender and the sweet and spicy sauce went really nicely with it. The plain rice and greens were a good, bland, accompaniment.
In terms of technique I wouldn't change anything, but I would use less cooking liquid, 1 can of dandelion and burdock would be enough. And the sauce could have done with being a bit more savoury. Worcestershire sauce would have helped, or some light stock, or a mixture of the two.
If you give it a go, let me know what you think.