With summer just around the corner, I like to think of food that can be made well ahead and tastes great served cold, or at least cool, to keep me out of a hot kitchen. The vegetable part of this is usually taken care of with seasonal vegetable salads and the like. If the protein part means meat, I like to have pre-cooked pieces tucked away in the freezer.
One of my favorite cold meats is poached and marinated pork, or _nibuta_. (_Ni_ means to cook in liquid, and _buta_ is pig.) It’s very easy to make, stores beautifully in the refrigerator for about a week or much longer in the freezer, and of course, tastes great - savory, slightly sweet, and very juicy. It can be sliced very thinly or julienned for one-dish meal salads or in sandwiches, or chopped up and added to stir-fries, wraps, and so on. It’s a great addition to a bento box. It can be cubed or coarsely ground and used instead of _char siu_ (roast pork) in steamed buns or bao . The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
There’s one unusual ‘secret’ ingredient in the poaching liquid - one umeboshi or salt-cured plum. You can omit this if you like, but adding just one umeboshi seems to de-fat the meat a bit more than just poaching, plus making it taste a bit cleaner and fresher in an interesting way.
An easy alternative to roast pork, this can be sliced and used for salads, stir-fries, as a cold appetizer or main dish, and more. It lasts in the refrigerator for a week, or can be frozen. It’s best to make this with a cut of meat that isn’t totally lean, so don’t use an expensive cut like tenderloin or filet. It should have a little marbling, just like ham. Quite a lot of the fat will end up in the poaching liquid, which you can just throw out or skim off.
Prep time: 10 min :: Cook time: 90 min :: Total time: 1 h 40 min
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By Makiko Itoh
Published: May 08, 2007
Type: japanese, meat, pork
The marinade itself can be defatted. Put it into the refrigerator until the fat has congealed, then strain) and used as a sauce, either on the meat or for other dishes. It keeps for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
You could try to use the poaching liquid as a soup base, but I don’t find the flavor that good somehow (the ginger and leek combo make it too strong) so I just throw it out.
Defrost nibuta in the fridge overnight, rather than in the microwave which can dry it out.