Pork Stew with Chinese Flavors


Easier than beef stew, more exotic, and really delicious.
TIME 2 to 3 hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 4 servings
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
3 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
3 large or 4 medium carrots, cut into large chunks
1 inch fresh ginger, cut crosswise into thin coins
1 or 2 small fresh hot green chiles (like Thai), minced
10 garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
¼ cup chopped scallions for garnish


Method
1 Put the pork, stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, carrots, ginger, chiles, garlic, and some salt and pepper in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily but not furiously. Cover and cook, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until the meat is very tender and just about falling apart— 1½ to 2 hours.

2 Transfer the meat and vegetables to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and turn the heat under the pot juices to high. Continue cooking until the liquid has thickened slightly and reduced to a cup or even less—you want the liquid to be the consistency of thin gravy.

3 Lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently, then return the meat and vegetables to the sauce to reheat. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more soy sauce if you like, and serve garnished with the cilantro and scallions.

Variations
  • Pork Stew with Oregano and White Wine: In Step 1, skip the soy sauce and sesame oil. Replace 1 cup of the stock with 1 cup dry white or red wine, the ginger with 1 chopped onion, and the chile with 4 sprigs fresh oregano. In Step 3, replace the cilantro and scallions with ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves. Serve the stew with boiled potatoes or buttered noodles.

Tips
  • This dish can be served over white rice or tossed with soba or rice noodles. It’s also good served on an eggy roll, like Sloppy Joes.
  • If you want to try this recipe with some other meat, use any other fatty cut, like beef chuck or brisket (the cooking time might be up to 30 minutes longer), bonein or boneless chicken thighs (about 30 minutes shorter), or lamb shoulder (about the same).

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