Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Clay Pot Pork

So, a little disclaimer here...Asher and I loved this dish. Nate did not. Nate who NEVER says he doesn't like a dish I make, even when they're disasters took one bite and said, "Ohh, this is not good."

Asher and I were like, "Are you crazy?!" I think the problem is that this dish uses a lot of fish sauce. If you don't like seafood (like Nate), you probably won't like this.

Oh, and fish sauce? It's hard to find a good kind. So, I've put a picture here of the bottle my Aunt Katie showed me is good and is pretty common in most Asian supermarkets.

Oh, and the thing about fish sauce? It STINKS! I love it mixed with other things, but every time I use it, I think, "Oh heavens, how can something that smells this bad taste good in the end?!" But, it does.

Clay Pot Pork** (but you don't actually need to have a clay pot)
Gourmet Cookbook

1/3 c sugar
1/4 c chicken stock
1/3 c Asian fish sauce, preferably Vietnamese
3 shallots, thinly sliced I did 1/2 a red onion instead
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced I minced them
3 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally, white and green parts kept separate
1 pound trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes this is a very cheap, but very fatty cut of meat. It took me a solid half hour to trim off enough fat for my liking.
1 t freshly ground black pepper I found this a little too spicy; next time, I'll do 1/2 t

Cook sugar in a dry 3 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, without stirring, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork (a fork, really? I just used a spatula, so I didn't scrape the heck out of the bottom of my pan), until sugar has melted into a deep golden caramel. Carefully add stock and fish sauce (caramel will harden and steam vigorously) and cook, stirring, until caramel is dissolved. Add shallots, garlic, and white part of scallions and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Toss pork with pepper in a bowl and stir into sauce. Bring to a simmer, then cover pan, reduce heat to low, and braise pork, stirring once or twice, until very tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in scallion greens and serve with rice. I thought the sauce was a little runny, so I made a slurry with 1 T cornstarch and 4 T water, added it to the sauce and pork, simmering it all for about 10 extra minutes. Then, I poured it over rice noodles.

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