Pineapple is probably my favourite fruit of all time – especially in fresh form, rather than tinned. Nothing quite beats chowing down on fresh golden chunks of the stuff – the juice running down your arms.
Due to its high sugar content, pineapple is best eaten infrequently, or in small portions, depending on your goals and activity levels as it hits about a 50 on the Glycemic Index. It’s a fruit that does not need to be purchased as an organic item, owing to its tough outer skin. It also works as a bit of an anti-inflammatory, and is a good source of sulfur, which is necessary to help rebuild tissues, bones, and cartilage.
However, used in this slow cooked dish, it’s a real treat. The enzymes (namely bromelain) in the fruit help to break down the tough muscle fibers of the pork, leaving the pork truly mouth-wateringly tender at the end of the cooking process. The fattiness of the pork and coconut cream, and the acidity of the tamarind and lime juice help to buffer the blood sugar response to the pineapple by slowing down its absorption.
A few years ago, there was an uproar over the pork production methods used in New Zealand, with many people horrified at the use of small pens and cages. Since then, there has been a rapid expansion of the availability of ‘free farmed’ pork products. I have used “Freedom Farms” pork for this recipe, as the well-fare of the animals that I am eating matter to me. This particular brand is certified by the SPCA, so I trust that their farming practices are ethical, and guilt-free. I’d rather pay a few dollars more for peace of mind.
1.5 kg Freedom Farmed pork shoulder roast, bone in
1 fresh pineapple
Thai red curry paste (I used sour curry paste – pictured below)
500 ml coconut cream
1 L water
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
2 kefir lime leaves, torn
2 Bird’s Eye chillis, minced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1.5 tbsp tamarind puree
1-2 tbsp palm sugar (optional)
1 kefir lime
1. Prepare the pineapple by removing the skin, the core, and cutting the flesh into bite-sized chunks. Place half of the chunks into the bottom of your slow cooker.
2. Mince your garlic, ginger, and chilies, and tear the lime leaves.
3. In a sauce pan over low heat, combine curry paste with the water until the curry paste is thoroughly mixed in. Add the palm sugar and tamarind puree, stirring to dissolve.
4. Once the palm sugar has dissolved, add the ginger, garlic, chilies, lime leaves, and fish sauce, along with the coconut cream. Bring to a gentle simmer, and leave for 5 minutes so the flavours begin to infuse.
5. In the meantime, place the pork shoulder on top of half of the pineapple, and place the remainder on top of the pork shoulder.
6. Once the broth has simmered for approximately 5 minutes, pour over the pork shoulder. Turn the heat to high, and leave for about 6-8 hours.
7. Take the pork shoulder out of the slow cooker, and place into a dish with high sides. Using two forks, begin to pull the flesh of the pork apart. It should come apart easily. Continue until the pork is finely shredded. Add a final squeeze of kefir lime juice to the broth.
8. Serve on white rice, rice noodles, or Paleo (cauliflower) rice. I have used wide Pad Thai rice noodles. Assemble the noodles in the bottom of a bowl, and add a healthy mountain of pork.
9. Ladle the broth over the noodles and pork, being sure to get a few chunks of the delicious pineapple along the way.
Paleo-ize It!: Omit the palm sugar altogether, or swap for honey or maple syrup. Serve on cauliflower rice.