Introduction: Spicy Pulled Pork, Coleslaw, Gardenscape Focaccia

About: Hi, I'm Éva from Hungary. I love baking, cooking, and gardening, not to mention the perfect combination: cooking using fruits and veggies from our garden. I often experiment with new ingredients and try to use…

Hello Everyone,

Today I am going to show you how to make a fabulous sandwich. It will be an unusually long Instructible with a long list of ingredients, in return, you'll end up with a sandwich that is more like a complete lunch. Preparation is not so difficult as it seems. It has three elements that work together really well, but you may also decide to simplify it by for example using store bought sandwich bread instead of making your own focaccia.

The three elements mentioned are:

- Sourdough focaccia bread, gardenscape edition: I became a regular sourdough bread baker during the lockdown, I've already made focaccia a couple of times before, and I think it is perfect for sandwiches. Lately I kept coming across with these beautifully designed breads with all sorts of veggies and greens on top on social media. This is something I've been planning to have a go at for a long time, so I decided to give it a try.

- Spicy pulled pork: I can assure you that this is just fantastic as it is. Rubbed with various spices and condiments, slow cooked in the oven overnight at low temperature results in extremely tender and juicy meat. I made it a day ahead and practically I had to hide it in the fridge so that my kids would not eat it all before I could make the rest of the recipe.

- Coleslaw: Crunchy cabbage in a creamy sauce that complement the meat perfectly. I added apples to the classic ingredients to provide tanginess.

I suggest to start by preparing the meat as it can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days (or may even be frozen), so it's no problem if you do not make the rest of the recipe the same day.

Step 1: You'll Need

For the pulled pork:

    • 1.5 kgs pork shoulder
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for oiling the pan
    • 1 red onion
    • 8-10 cloves of garlic


    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 2 tablespoons thick tomato sauce (passata de pomodoro)
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika
    • 40 g salt
    • 1 tablespoon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

    For the focaccia:

    (to make the mature starter: 50 g starter from the fridge, 100 g strong bread flour, 100 g water)

    • 100 g mature starter
    • 500 g strong white bread flour
    • 350 ml water
    • 10 g salt
    • 12 g olive oil + more for oiling
    • all sorts of herbs and vegetables to decorate the bread

    Here is the list of what I used, but please feel free to adapt it to your taste and fresh local produce available:

    wild mushrooms, red onion, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, courgette, courgette flower, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, parsley, rosemary, garlic chives, olives, green onions, fresh chili

    For the coleslaw:

    • 800 g green cabbage
    • 300 g red cabbage
    • 1 red onion (140 g)
    • 2 carrots (250 g)
    • 2 apples (280 g)
    • 3 tablespoons salt
    • 70 g mayonaisse
    • 150 g sour cream
    • 60 ml apple cider vinegar
    • 35 g brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds


    1. for the pulled pork:
    • a big bowl
    • small bowls
    • saucepan
    • baking pan / ovensafe pot
    • knife
    • mortar
    • clingfilm
    • spoons

    2. for the focaccia:

    • digital scale
    • mason jar
    • spoons
    • stand mixer (though kneading can also be done by hand)
    • bowl to proof the dough
    • to decorate: cutting board, sharp knife / mandoline slicer
    • clingfilm
    • deep baking pan (25 x 35 cm, about 4 cm deep)

    3. for the coleslaw:

    • sharp knife / mandoline slicer
    • cutting board
    • bowls (large and small)
    • strainer
    • salad spinner

    Step 2: Pulled Pork - the Rub

    Place cumin and coriander seeds into a dry saucepan and lightly toast them. It is ready when the smell of the spices hits you. Crush them in a mortar.

    Take 2 cloves of garlic, peel and crush.

    Place all ingredients of the rub into a mid-sized bowl and combine.

    Step 3: Treat the Meat

    Grab the meat and give it a thorough massage with about half of the rub. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours so that it can absorb the aromas in the rub.

    Step 4: Cook the Meat

    Take a thick bottomed pan, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until it’s very hot and sear the meat on all sides. The key is to place the meat in the hot pan and leave it (no need to move or slide around the pan until the side facing the pan is golden brown), then turn it and do the same process all around. If you start moving it in the pan on the same side it will start to get cooked rather than getting seared. This is very important to do, when the meat hits the scorching hot pan it starts to caramelize instantly, thereby enhances the flavor, and also the fluids get trapped inside.

    After searing the meat, transfer it into an ovensafe pot. We certainly do not want to waste the flavorful bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pan in which the meat was seared, so leave the saucepan on the heat, add approximately 0.3 liters of boiling water, scrape off the bits with a wooden spatula and pour it on top of the meat. Add the remainder of the rub.

    Cut the red onion into 1/8-s, pull the cloves of the garlic apart, but do not remove the thin skin, and add those also into the pot.

    Set the oven to 90 degrees Celsius, bring the contents of the pot to boil and then place it into the oven for 8-10 hours.

    Step 5: Pull the Pork

    It is worth to check on the meat after 7 hours, what we are looking for is an absolutely tender consistency with a rich and delicious sauce. When ready, remove the meat as well as the garlic and the onion pieces. Boil the sauce to thicken to about 2/3 of its volume.

    Using two forks, pull the meat apart, pour over some sauce (to taste, depending on how juicy you like it) and keep it in the fridge until further use.

    As for the garlic and the onion, they go really well with roasted potatoes or you might add part of them to the meat itself.

    Step 6: Focaccia - Why Sourdough?

    Making sourdough bread – any sourdough bread, not just focaccia - is a longer process than making yeast bread. So why not take the faster lane, is it worth the fuss to get from picture 1 to 2? Definitely, because although it takes 24 hours minimum from taking the stock starter out of the fridge until taking the fresh loaf out of the oven, the actual work to be done is about 45 minutes altogether, (plus the time spent with decoration) the rest is just waiting. Not to mention the characteristic tangy flavor and superb structure of sourdough bread. Yeast bread is nowhere near to it!

    So I encourage everyone to give it a try. I’ve been baking bread regularly in the past months, I prepared my stock starter back in March and I’ve been using it since then. If you are interested in making your own sourdough starter from scratch and how to keep it alive, check here.

    In order to make things more straightforward, I decided to include my schedule in the recipe.

    Step 7: Refresh Stock Starter

    [If you do not use your stock starter regularly it may need to be refreshed twice to get nice and strong, ready to rise the dough. In this case, take the stock starter out of the fridge at 9 pm (Day 0) and follow the same process as written below.]

    8 am (Day 1)

    Measure 50 g starter, 100 g flour and 100 g water into a clean jar, mix well and let it sit – loosely covered with a lid. (Discard the rest of the stock starter.)

    You will experience a dramatic change in the volume and the structure of the starter, its volume will double (at least) and it will be fluffy (you can see the holes in picture 7). If you are unsure about whether the starter is ready, place a spoonful into cold water, it should float (pic.8.).

    Step 8: Autolyse

    4:00 pm

    Gather the ingredients of the bread: strong bread flower, water, olive oil, salt and the mature starter.

    4:15 pm

    Combine flour and water, cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. The aim of this step is to help gluten to develop and to make it easier to work with the dough.

    Step 9: Combine the Dough

    5:10 pm

    Add the starter to the flour and water mixture, knead with the stand mixer equipped with a dough hook attachment. I kneaded the dough at speed 2 twice for 3 minutes with a one-minute break in between.

    Add salt (salt and wild yeast do not get on well, therefore I suggest to let the yeast work itself into the dough first and add salt only at this point). Knead for another 2-3 minutes.

    Dump the dough onto the lightly floured countertop.

    Step 10: Knead by Hand

    This is one of my favorite parts in making bread. I prefer the so called slap and fold method in which as the name suggests, you slap the dough on the counter then fold it. I usually do it 100 times. Yes, I am counting. The video shows in slow motion how it works.

    Another method is shown in one of my previous Instructables,here (step 2.).

    Finally, form the dough into a ball, transfer it into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let it sit for 30 minutes. (If you follow the schedule, the dough should be ready and sitting in the bowl at 5.30 pm).

    Step 11: Folding

    6.00 pm - First fold

    Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and stretch it into a rectangle (actually quite a big rectangle may be achieved: roughly 50x70 cms).

    Fold the dough from the short side like an envelope (three – fold), turn it 90 degrees so that once again it is the short side close to you. Fold it in three from this direction also, then put it back into the bowl (covered) and let it rest.

    6.30 pm - Second fold

    Repeat the process written above. As the dough gets stronger, you will not be able to stretch the dough as much as the previous time.

    7.00 pm - Third fold (like said, repeat folding)

    7.30 pm - Fourth fold (last time folding- same method as above)

    Remark: What you see in picture 3 is technically a gluten test, it is very easy to stretch the dough without breaking it, gluten has developed and it holds firm.

    In the last picture, you can see those lovely bubbles being formed, this is just the thing we are looking for.

    Step 12: Form the Dough

    8:00 pm

    As we are talking about a focaccia, forming it means gently stretching the dough.

    Pour 2-3 tablespoons olive oil into the pan (size: approximately 25x35 cm). Spread it evenly by lifting one side of the pan then the other. Place the dough in the middle then gently push with your fingers starting from the center to the sides of the pan. You may also grab the edges and stretch it. It will spring back, don't force it. It will be easier to finish after letting the dough rest for a while. Cover with clingfilm.

    9:00 pm

    Remove the clingfilm and stretch the dough gently furher, pulling the sides until it reaches the edges of the pan. Cover tightly with clingfilm and put it into the fridge for overnight.

    Step 13: Decorating Focaccia

    7:00 am

    Take the focaccia out of the fridge, remove the clingfilm and let it warm up for about an hour.

    In the meantime, gather your supplies for decoration. Olive oil is a must, everything else is optional. I provided a list of what I used in step 2, but consider that only as a guideline. Tomatoes not only look but also taste great with their sweet yet tangy flavor, so I would not skip those.

    Cut the veggies with a sharp knife or a mandoline any way you like, lengthwise or across, but don’t cut them too thin, or else they might get burnt. For me 3-4 mm is an ideal thickness.

    7:45 am (bear in mind how long your oven takes to reach the right temperature)

    Preheat the oven to 190 Celsius.

    8:00 am

    Lightly oil your fingers and poke your fingers into the dough, Pour some more olive oil on top. Scatter with rosemary, then let your imagination fly while decorating the dough.

    Step 14: Baking

    Bake for about 30 minutes until the dough gets golden brown, Above there is a before and an after baking photo. The colors lose part of their vividness, but I still love the overall impression.

    Let it cool in the pan, then remove it with the help of spatulas. You may need somebody to help lift the focaccia out of the pan.

    Step 15: Coleslaw 1.

    Cut the cabbages into quarters, remove the stem.

    Slice them very thin using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Place cabbage into a bowl, add the salt, toss and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.

    Rinse the cabbage in a strainer then transfer into a salad spinner to get rid of extra water.

    When dry, transfer into a large bowl.

    Step 16: Dressing

    Prepare the dressing: dissolve brown sugar in cider vinegar, crush spices in a mortar. Mix vinegar, mayonnaise and sour cream.

    Step 17: Coleslaw 2.

    Thinly slice the red onion, carrots and apples with a knife or a mandoline. Add them to the cabbage. Sprinkle spices on top, add dressing and combine.

    Step 18: Assembly

    Cut your focaccia into the desired size, cut each piece in half, pile a generous amount of pulled pork then coleslaw on the bottom slice and place the top back.

    You can see in picture 3 how well the sourdough raised the bread.

    Step 19: Enjoy!

    and be prepared for questions like: "Can I have some more?"

    Sandwich Challenge 2020

    Second Prize in the
    Sandwich Challenge 2020