8 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces meat and 2 tablespoons sauce)
Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Mindi Shapiro
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
1/2 cup less-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons julienne-cut peeled fresh ginger
2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
8 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
How to Make It
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Add pork to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove from pan; set aside.
Combine soy sauce and the next 5 ingredients (through star anise) in pan over medium heat, and stir until sugar dissolves. Return pork to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 1/2 hours or until pork is fork-tender. Discard cinnamon and anise. Shred meat into large pieces using 2 forks; toss with sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro.
Wine note: The perfect wine for this spiced pork is a variety growing in spades in California, but few people know about it or have tasted it: barbera. One of the most important red grapes in Italy, barbera in this country has mostly disappeared into generic red wine blends--until recently. Now winemakers are capitalizing on the grape's beautifully high level of acidity (it makes a fantastic food wine) and spicy cherry flavors, and they are bottling it on its own. In the Sierra Foothills, for some reason, barbera often has an edge of cinnamon that makes a lovely link to this pork. You couldn't go wrong with the 2007 Terra d'Oro Barbera from Amador County ($18), with a rush of sweet red fruit and warm spices. --Sara Schneider
I used vermouth (it's always in my kitchen), and reg soy sauce (on hand). I cut the meat off the bone myself (new to cooking, so I masacre'd it), so I had multiple smaller pieces. I checked it multiple times with no problems, and checked it again at 1hr 50 min. Just in time! It was about to burn. I added 1/2 cup water to slow down the heat and deglaze to prevent burn, turned off the stove, and shredded it. It is delicious, and had just enough sauce to coat it. Delicious, but beware if your stove cooks like mine, it is done way sooner!
This is a fabulous, easy Asian meat dish. I did side-by-side batches -- one with Shaoxing cooking wine, one with sherry -- both were great. I gave it to three different families and everyone loved it and couldn't get enough. As with any meat you braise, cook on very low heat (maybe even the lowest) and keep a close eye on it to avoid cooking the sauce down too much. I can't wait to make this again.
This was delicious. I followed the directions exactly and everyone in the family loved it. I had plenty of sauce for this dish so I would say you could easily go up to 5 lbs. with the meat and still have plenty of the sauce.
This is a new favorite at our house. Every time I make if for guests they leave with the recipe. Easy & super flavorful. I've yet to find the "drinking" wine but used the cooking wine with a little water to control the salt. The first time I made it 3 picky kids all asked for seconds!
The sauce smelled *wonderful*--until the 2 hour mark, when it turned into a blackened, burnt goo. I had my burner on low throughout the simmer, so if I try this again, I'll either try it on low in the crockpot for 6-8 hours or add more liquid to the braising sauce. Not sure what liquid that would be...
Amazingly flavorful and well balanced. The star anise and cinnamon add a unique flavor. I cooked it over very low heat for a full three hours. The sauce was a bit thin, so i reduced it during the last 30 minutes. The first night I served it with rice, cilantro and scallions. For the second night, I coupled the leftover pork with a fresh vinegar slaw (rice vinegar, lime juice, cumin) in a wrap. The soy and spices were a nice counterbalance to the acid in the slaw.
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