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Business News/ Mint-lounge / Indulge/  Beer and pork

Beer and pork

Keeping pork dishes fresh in terms of flavour is a great way to pair the food with beer

Photo: ThinkstockPremium
Photo: Thinkstock

Beer is wonderfully versatile, and can be paired with almost anything. From the cheapest of street food takeaways through to a post-Michelin-starred dinner sundowner, there is nothing like cracking open a nice beer as a break from spirits or wine. I often find myself craving a cold beer, and recently on a trip to the Cognac region in France, I was bombarded with rich food, wine and, of course, plenty of cognac. On the final day, we retreated to a cafe for lunch and, along with ordering a pork dish, I asked for a pint of cold local lager. Served as a beautiful tall glass of cold liquid, it slipped down far too easily and before I knew it, I was on to the next. A really refreshing treat.

I always feel that the best beer to choose is the local tipple, so in this case I’m choosing Kingfisher for all the reasons mentioned previously. As a light but flavoursome lager, it pairs perfectly with pork, another versatile food.

Pork is a wonderful product and can be cooked in a number of different ways. One of the easiest cuts of pork to prepare and cook, which also is one of the cheapest, is pork belly. With pork belly, it is the fat that provides most of the flavour. With proper preparation (some people like to cure it overnight in something like brine), long roasting and plenty of salt on top, the result can be a roast that is both crispy from the skin on top and juicy from the succulent meat and fat. And it is these juices that mean a lager doesn’t quite do the job with pork belly; I would look for something with a higher alcohol content to cut through the fats and juices, so here a very light whisky such as Cutty Sark, cut with soda water and ice (around 2:1 soda to whisky), with a twist of lemon, would do a wonderful job.

But the best cut of pork in my opinion is a chop. Simple and delicious, a pork chop doesn’t take a lot of work to cook. A semi-hot griddle pan should do the job: just make sure you season the chop with plenty of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil. Whack it in the pan and quickly cook either side, and your chop is ready to serve. The fastest of fast food. With a pork chop, serve seasonal vegetables and some sort of a mash (you don’t have to use potatoes; there are easy alternatives such as celeriac, which is best mixed with a few potatoes for good measure). The sauce is also key for pork, and light fruit sauces go well. Try apple sauce or anything that provides a bit of zing to the equation. Even a minty sauce will do well to provide the whole dish with a more refreshing nature.

Keeping pork dishes fresh in terms of flavour is a great way to pair the food with beer. Keep your Kingfisher chilled to the point of almost frozen, and if you can, also chill your beer glass. This way you’ll retain the cold, refreshing experience alongside your clean pork dish and it will make the late, warm evenings as much a reward as a treat.

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Published: 26 Dec 2014, 08:14 AM IST
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