Coconut-kissed stock infused with the aromatic flavors of curry and a sweet spike of pineapple combine in this bowl of Cajun pork neck bones to build a Pork Curry soup that ramps up the flavor to international levels.
Listen up: I am a sucker for Asian spice. I’ve never been to Asia, but with my culinary travels to exotic markets and restaurants, I have developed a craving for many of the dishes that define the Pacific Rim. Vietnamese pho, Chinese hot pot, ramen from Japan, and Korean barbecue are favorites that inevitably wind up on my Acadiana table. And this Pork Curry is at the top of my tasty list. This is one of those crossover dishes that just fires me up. It uses many indigenous ingredients of Acadiana but adds a dramatic touch of Asian herbs and spices. Thai cuisine beckons to me, and the curry dishes I’ve come to love are at the heart of this recipe.
The Cajun trinity of aromatic vegetables, along with stalwart South Louisiana ingredients like pork neck bones are the base for my infusion of exotic ingredients. Cinnamon sticks, star anise, lemongrass, ginger, and turmeric along with a pungent blast of curry powder give me the spicy Asian rocket fuel I need to take my taste buds into the culinary stratosphere. With a base of pork stock married with the richness of coconut milk, this soup comes together masterfully.
The key to this dish is the garnish of fresh basil leaves and stalks of herbal cilantro along with crunchy peanuts and a squeeze of lime. With my fragrant Louisiana Jasmine rice from Supreme Rice in Crowley, Louisiana, this dish is a perfect expression of two cultures coming together in one tasty bowl.
- 4 pounds pork neck bones
- 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into chunks
- 4 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1 cup diced red onion
- ½ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced green bell pepper
- ½ cup diced carrot
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 ½ cups diced green onion tops, divided
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
- 1 tablespoon ground lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup cubed pineapple chunks
- 1 large ear of yellow corn, cut into round chunks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups cooked white jasmine rice, such as Supreme
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- 2 cups fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish
- 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno
- 4 tablespoons shelled peanuts
- 4 wedges fresh lime
- In a large cast-iron pot with heavy lid, add the pork neck bones along with the ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves. Add enough water to just cover the pork pieces and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking until the pork is tender, about 1 hour. Strain the pork stock from the pot and reserve. Discard the pieces of ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves.
- In the same pot containing the pork over medium-high heat, add back 4 cups of the strained stock along with the coconut milk. Add the red onion, celery, bell pepper, carrot, garlic, cilantro, ½ cup of the green onion tops, and lime juice. Add the curry powder, lemongrass, turmeric, ground ginger, pineapple chunks, and the corn pieces. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. Cover and let cook until the soup just begins to thicken, about 1 hour.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings by adding a dash more curry powder if needed along with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and let rest for 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- For serving, add a mound of rice to the bottom of a large, deep bowl. Ladle the soup along with pieces of the pork neck bones and garnish with basil leaves, sprigs of cilantro, jalapeno, peanuts, and a wedge of lime. Invite your guests to squeeze the lime and the chunks of corn and the bony pieces of pork should be eaten with the hands.
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Kimberly Baxter says
So many wonderful flavors going on in here!