Recipe: 'The Pot' Pork & puha with steamed vegetables

By Grant Allen

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'The Pot[' Pork & puha with steamed vegetables. Photo / Doug Sherring
'The Pot[' Pork & puha with steamed vegetables. Photo / Doug Sherring

This dish is quintessentially Maori. When Anne was a kid, everything went into the one pot and this meal could be on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu in the one day. Puha is a superfood, said to have more than three times the antioxidant level of blueberries.
Anne likes to steam the vegetables in a separate pot, as steaming brings out their colour and they look much nicer on the plate.

Hydroponic puha is now grown in Australia for the thousands of Mozzies who live there, Anne says. The aroma from cooking this dish reminds them of home.

Use semi-lean meat, but don't be afraid to leave a little fat on the bones. The stock water gives the puha its unique flavour. Disregard any fat once dished up in front of you. Maori eat the meat, suck the bones and dig out the delicious marrow. Farmers' markets sell puha but if you can't find it, use watercress instead.

Serves 6

• 2kg pork bones
• 3 bayleaves (optional)
• 2 tsp salt for the pot
• Big bunch of puha (or watercress), about 1kg in weight. Remove flowers, tarnished leaves, long stalks and rinse thoroughly. You will end up with approx half the weight after removing all the unusable bits. Cut puha in half.

• 2 carrots, sliced in chunks
• ¼ pumpkin, cut in chunks
• 2 kumara, cut in chunks
• 4 small or gourmet potatoes
• 1 tsp of salt for the vegetables

1. Put the pork bones and bay leaves in a large pot and drown them in cold water. Add the salt and bring to the boil with pot lid off.

2. Still with pot lid off, simmer very gently for an hour or so until the meat is falling off the bone.

3. Add puha to the pot. With pot lid on, simmer very gently for about 5-8 minutes.

4. Turn element off, and allow puha to steam in the pot with the lid on for 5-10 minutes. Before serving, gently turn puha over in the stock of the pot.

5. In another pot, steam or gently boil the vegetables with a teaspoon of salt until soft.

To serve, plate up and finish off by pouring a little of the stock water over the dish. Season to taste.

- Herald on Sunday

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