Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eintopf (German one pot stew)

Following a chat about food with two German chums, Helge and Lasse, we thought we should try making Eintopf  in the Cook Japan rice cooker:
For those new to this dish, that includes Cook Japan until 48-hours ago, Eintopf means literally “one pot” and is a traditional type of German stew which can consist of a great number of different ingredients. Technically, the term refers to a way of cooking all ingredients in one pot, not to any specific recipe.
Not knowing quite where to start we therefore followed Lasse’s lead and opted for the following recipe which we cooked with the “soup” mode (plus a bit of braising)…
…first up braise some bacon and German sausage in the rice cooker, once browned put this to one side, switch to “soup” and get on with the liquid component of dinner.  In this case, we used peas, leeks, carrots, celery, potatoes, bay leaf, onion, some bouillon and seasoning.  Once the soup was underway, the sausages and bacon were re-added to the rice cooker and left to cook…
Once cooked the dish sits quite happily on “keep warm” intensifying flavours until ready to be devoured by very cold hordes at dinner time…and the best thing is there just enough for a very small cold horder to eat some more tomorrow!
As with many great dishes this is Eintopf is about using ingredients to hand rather than rigidly sticking to a recipe, this was our first experiment and according to our German friends not a bad start either.
For more information visit:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Slow Cooked Pork (in the Rice Cooker)

This is a slight variation of a firm Cook Japan family favourite…buta no kakuni (Japanese braised pork belly).  Mrs Cook Japan is loving our local supermarket’s so called “forgotten cuts”, in this case pork cheeks… 


…so it was still pork, just that it happened to be cheeks and not belly…I have to say if you are a fan of slow cooking pork cheeks are a wonderful cut of meat for this type of dish with a fabulous texture.

So the recipe…Mrs Cook Japan’s secret  is to cook the meat in earl grey tea for 1-1.5 hours until it is really tender, she then changes this to fresh water and adds ginger, garlic,dried lily flowers and daikon (long white Japanese radish) along with soya sauce, mirin, sake and sugar which gives the dish its lovely sweet syrupiness.  The whole thing is put in the rice cooker and left to cook for a couple of hours, after which a few spring onions and leeks go in and everything is left on “keep warm” until its time to eat.


One of the great things about this dish is the way the daikon soaks up the sauce, creating this wonderful marbling effect and making it absolutely delicious…


The finished pork just falls apart on your fork/chopsticks, the tenderness of the meat and flavour is superb and only increases with time (especially if there’s some left for the following day). 


Served on a bed of rice (thankfully we have 2 rice cookers for when it comes to making meals like this), the only drawback was having friends pop round…once they’d had a bowl as well it meant was nothing left for me reheat tomorrow…