Saturday, November 29, 2014

Suzhou Braised Pork (within or without a clay pot)

One of my earliest 'favorite recipes.' Mom made this first when I was probably a pre-teen, and I loved the intense and novel flavors. Sister T even gave me a clay pot one Christmas, I loved it so much! She made the recipe again recently, and it was just as glorious as I remember. This is from Martin Yan's Culinary Journey through China. I also have fond memories of watching Martin Yan at my Grandmother Cox's house. Knife skills!

1 1/4 lb boneless pork shoulder

2 T regular soy sauce
1 T dark soy sauce
1 T cornstarch

2 c chicken broth
1/3 c rice wine or dry sherry
2 T oyster sauce
2 T dark soy sauce
4 green onions, cut in half and lightly crushed
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 c crushed rock sugar or packed brown sugar

2 T oil
6 T garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 lb napa cabbage, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares
1 1/2 t cornstarch, dissolved in 1 T water

1. Cut pork into 2 inch pieces. Combine marinade ingredients. Add pork and stir to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Combine seasoning  broth ingredients in a bowl.

2. Place a wok over high heat until hot. Add oil, swirling to coat sides. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, 3-4 minutes.

3. Place pork in a clay pot or a 2 qt pot. Add seasoning broth ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Add cabbage, cover, and simmer until cabbage is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Add cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens.

4. Serve with a lot of rice; the sauce is intense and a little goes a long way on rice.

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