Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with prunes and spices

When out food shopping on Saturday evening I couldn’t get the cut of pork I’d wanted. Well, not in individual packs. Only large family-sized packs were left. So, I ended up going with leg of pork steak instead. This really needs a stewing meat rather than a cut that needs to be grilled. However, I’ve cooked with boneless pork shoulder steaks quite a few times so I know how to give proper instructions below. And every time I’ve cooked with boneless shoulder steaks they turn out amazingly melt-in-the-mouth delicious.

Not so with these leg steaks. So I wasn’t happy with my lunch, especially as I had to reheat after taking photos. Although, what surprised me was how good the pan-fried parsnips were with this gravy (if cooking for more I’d roast the veg instead), and I’ll be making this again as the gravy was that good. Like all gravies and sauces I started off with less spices, in this case the cayenne and ginger, and added more toward the end of cooking time. As for the prunes, I can only get jet black that smell more like dates when removed from their pack. They also have a slightly musky aftertaste which is why I’ve only used six of them. If I could get my hands on better quality chances are I’d use more. If anyone knows of any authentic British and French recipes for cooking pork with prunes I’d love to hear from you as I think this is a perfect combination for a slow-roasted casserole during long Winter days.

Boneless Pork Shoulder Steaks, with prunes and spices

INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g (7.05 oz) x boneless pork shoulder steaks, rinse and pat dry and if steaks aren’t even in size then do whack them a little with a kitchen mallet to get them more even
  • 1/2 x lemon, rolled under palms and freshly squeezed through a sieve + extra for adding to the gravy if needed and/or to serve
  • 2 x plump garlic cloves, peeled, trimmed and sliced
  • seasoning, both sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 6 x pitted or already stoned prunes
  • 5 x juniper berries, slightly crushed
  • 1 x dried bay leaf, split
  • 3 x sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed
  • 1 x small onion, peeled, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 x celery stalk, washed, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 x medium carrot, peeled, trimmed and cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • 1 x large pinch cayenne pepper (use less to begin with)
  • 1 x small piece fresh ginger, about 1.5cm or 1/2 inch used, peeled and finely grated (use less to begin with and add more to personal taste)
  • 250ml (0.52 US pt lqd) x cold water
  • 1/4 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
  • lemon zest, to serve – optional

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Marinate the boneless pork shoulder steaks in the lemon juice and add the garlic slices on top. Marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight (in my case). Put a large heavy-based saucepan on electric heat No 3 (out of 6), let the pan heat up before adding oil. When pan is hot scrape all of the garlic off the steak and after adding a glug of oil place the steak in to seal, which took mine about 10 minutes each side. Take off heat for a little bit if any signs of scorching are visible as the citrus sugars can burn which is why I only used heat No 3. After turning over the steak season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, I used only 4 grinds of salt and 6 of pepper. Then add the sliced garlic back to the pan, discarding the lemon juice. Make sure the garlic doesn’t turn golden. When garlic starts to colour scrape those unto the steak to prevent them from scorching as they can leave a very unpalatable taste.
  • In the meantime prep the vegetables needed for the stock. Measure out the water and grab a stock cube, using only a quarter of it.
  • Pour the water into the pan with the steak, add the other ingredients except for the fresh ginger. Put on heat No 4 with a lid on pan and bring to a boil. Then, stir through to make sure the stock cube has dissolved. Add some of the freshly grated ginger, allow to infuse before tasting for any extra cayenne and ginger needed. Again add salt if required. Reduce heat to No 2, again with a lid on pan, and simmer for at least another 30 minutes. Do keep an eye on any possibility of scorching happening and reduce heat if necessary. Add a splash of water if gravy is getting too dry, and do taste again for any needed extra spices and seasoning before serving. Remove steak  from pan and allow to rest in a warm place before straining the gravy. If it’s necessary to thicken the gravy put a small pan on heat No 1 with a dessertspoon of flour and the same of oil to create a type of roux. Allow at least 5 minutes for its floury taste to cook out, taking the pan off heat if bubbling occurs as this must not turn brown, putting the pan back on heat when bubbling subsides. When gravy is needed simply add some of the roux, stirring constantly over moderate heat and add more to personal taste if necessary.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


24 comments

  1. Photos great, as always. And the combination of flavors here sounds perfect with pork: ginger/juniper/garlic/lemon and the prunes for a bit of sweetness. And, of course, best of all, adding the parsnips as the final treat 🙂

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    • Thank you. Yes, the gravy was good. Shame about the prunes I can buy as they really aren’t the best quality for something like this. Especially if I wanted this as a casserole with lots of roasted veg.

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  2. I love pork steaks and this entire meal is comforting! I love your recipes and the twist and turns of ingredients. Who would think of prunes and juniper berries. You would!!! Very, very delicious 🙂

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    • Your comments always cheer me up! I do love juniper berries as one of my spices, if they’re regarded as that. However, it’s so seldom I get a chance to use them. Have to say the gravy was so good I could’ve drank it from a glass 🙂

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  3. I always love your inventiveness with ingredients in your recipes…this sounds good. If I see a large package of meat at my market, I just ask if they can take out just what I need. Is that not a common practice in your markets to accommodate customers?

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    • – Seriously? I’ve never thought of doing that here. Maybe I should ask at the meat counter the next time. You know us Brits, don’t like to stick our necks out! Hold on, I’m not even sure if there is a meat counter. Fish, yes.
      – Think I’ll have to try this with the proper cut of pork this weekend if possible as the gravy was delicious – and it’s still so cold. Thank you re inventiveness, although I’m not sure if I would describe myself as such. With certain ingredients I just know they’re going to taste great together. And it’s fun to try them out!

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    • This cut is quite popular here, and it’s especially good for any type of stew. They can be marbled with a fibrous sort of fat, but when cooked the meat is so tender a fork is hardly needed. The gravy was tasty 🙂

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    • The steak actually looks quite good on the plate this time around. It’s the sort of cut that are quite often misshapen and never normally the same thickness. A little bit of a whack with a kitchen mallet gets the job done. And helps to tenderize the meat. Must update post as I’ve forgotten to say that.

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  4. I love the combination of pork and prunes (I sometimes make a stew of pork and dried apricots and prunes which is a big success)! The addition of the spices must really have been quite delicious here! Yummy

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    • So glad you’ve told me about the dried apricots. As I only have two left, and as those are needed for a new dip I’m preparing tonight, I couldn’t go with. They would really help to cancel out any mustiness of the prunes I can buy. The spices I’ve kept fairly simple this time around. Was a bit nervous of adding anything else. Will have to explore more possibilities.

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    • The lemon should’ve helped. The problem was that I had to reheat several times because of taking photos. So my steak ended up overcooked and a little tough. With the other cut of boneless pork shoulder steaks they can withstand being reheated much better. Thank you re shot of the dish. These steaks aren’t the most photogenic I have to admit. And, unless they’re propped slightly they can look too shiny and don’t photograph well.

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  5. What an interesting set of ingredients. Your posts are always food for thought (haha). Perfect for the season, too, although I hope these casserole days are over soon!

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    • – If you saw behind the scenes you just might retract that remark! Hahaha! I’m not sure if I want anyone to view that. And definitely not on on video as it would be a case of move on, F-word-Gordon-Ramsey – you’ve been usurped!
      – Thanks for the lovely comment 🙂

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    • Yikes! Although I suppose that’s a compliment. Haven’t had seafood in ages. I’ve just made a really simple sups of canned broad beans and caramelised garlic with some of the sour cream for pasta – even better with prawns/shrimp which I might try next week.

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