I’m taking a bit of a break from lamb (but not for too long). One cannot neglect the the pig for too long and this dish. Here’s another taverna classic that falls in the realm of “tiganias” or sauted skillet dishes. Large fry pans or platters arrive at the table, much to the delight of the hungry Greek parea (company).
The cut of pork that’s used quite a bit in Greece is the pork belly. It can be sliced to make chops for the grill, cubed and skewered to make souvlaki or made into a tigania like this dish. If you cannot find pork butt, the pork butt (from the shoulder) also works well. It’s important to note that this dish needs some fat to succeed in having a moist, tender and flavourful end result. I do not recommend pork loin or tenderloin for this dish.
I buy a whole pork belly and I then remove the thick skin which I freeze to use to for a future pork loin roast. The remaining pork belly has a layers of lean meat and fat. Trim as much fat as you wish but leave some fat on. The fat left on your pork belly cubes will render and are key this dish being successful. The pork browns in its own fat and then the cubes of meat get a welcome splash of wine and stock and simmer, absorb the liquid and take on some flavour.
After thirty minutes, most of the liquid is gone, the meat – tender and just a fresh lemon juice, olive oil and herbs are needed to finish off an easy and most delicious dish. The name of this dish “ladorigani” is a compound word in Greek that simply means “oil and oregano”. What you see in the pan with the pork is the olive oil and lemon juice that were added at the end. Think souvlaki in a pan!
Pork Ladorigani (xοιρινό λαδορήγανη)
(meze/appetizer for 4)
1 kg. of pork belly, skin removed and cubed
coarse sea salt
fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. sweet paprika
1 cup white wine
1 cup water or stock
2-3 strips of lemon peel
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- Remove the skin from the pork belly and cut into cubes. Season with coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place a large skillet on your stove-top over medium-high heat and place the pork in the skillet and brown on all sides. The fat left on the pork will render and brown the meat (this step will take about 10-15 minutes).
- Add the wine, stock (or water), lemon peels, and paprika and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Take lid off and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pork, add the olive oil and sprinkle your dried Greek oregano and chopped fresh rosemary. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Serve with lots of crusty bread and a pair with a Pavlou Estate Rose.
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