Brazilian boiled pork (Carne na panela)

DSC_0012Coming up with an appropriate translation for this dish was not easy. In portuguese this dish is called carne na panela which translated literally means ‘meat in the pan or pot’. Although this is an accurate description of what the dish is and how it is cooked, it doesn’t sound too appealing as a name for such a delicious dish. Stew would be a completely misleading name as there is nothing stew-like in the end result. So, I was actually a little bit stumped of how to properly translate the name of this dish and how to make it sound as delicious as it is. After a lot of thought I came up with something that didn’t sound too horrendous and accurately described what this dish is, brazilian boiled pork.

Between all of the sweets that I have recently been making I have managed to make this dish quite a number of times. As many of my regular readers will know, my husband and I raise our own pork on the farm. This means I usually have a freezer full of meat (this Saturday it will get restocked as we will be killing and butchering our piglets that are now pretty big) and have to use all the different parts of the pig. My speciality in the kitchen is definitely not meat. It is not something I am very good at making and something that I still have a lot to learn about. Usually, it is my husband that does all of the meat cooking in our house and I stay far away for fear of destroying the dish. But, recently, with all of the pork that we have, I have begun digging my hands into some more meat dishes, more out of necessity really! The first dishes I made were not that great and definitely had a lot of faults, but over time I am getting a better feeling for how to cook meat and I already am developing my little book of tips and tricks for making delicious meat dishes. And, this dish is probably the best that I have made and mastered.

Carne na panelaIn my search for good meat dishes and my attempt to learn how to properly cook meat I came across this recipe of boiling pork loin for about two to three hours. The recipe and process sounded easy and I knew from eating meat cooked this way that it is really tasty. So, I pulled out some pork loin from my freezer, marinated it with salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice and let it sit for about three hours. I then put some oil in the bottom of a cast iron pan, added my marinated pork, filled the pan with water and added some herbs for extra seasoning. I left the pan to simmer for a good three hours and until most of the water had boiled off. The smell that permeated through the house was amazing! Once most of the water was boiled off and the pork loin was literally falling apart, I took the pan off the heat and let it sit for another 30 minutes. 

The end result…….this dish was absolutely amazing. My husband and I loved it and it was by far the best pork dish we had made.

Over the next weeks I made this dish several more times, using different cuts of pork, mostly the leg. Each time the flavor got better and the meat juicier. Now, this dish is my go-to meat dish and every chance I get I pull some pork out of the freezer and make this. The real secret to this dish is a long marination time and a slow simmer. This is not a dish to be rushed.

For anyone who is as shaky as me with cooking meat, definitely give this recipe a go. It is difficult to go wrong with this dish and the results are always amazing.

Happy cooking everyone!

PAN BOILED PORK (Carne na panela)

1.2kg/2.6lbs of pork loin or leg
1-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice from 2 lemons
1 bay leaf
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Season the pork with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours in the fridge.

In a medium pan, cover the bottom with vegetable oil, add the seasoned pork, the bay leaf and enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil, when boiling lower the heat, and, with the lid half on simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until almost all the water has boiled off and the meat is very soft and falling apart.

Serve the pork with rice, beans and vegetables or potatoes.

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