Wednesday, May 2

Asian Caramel Pork & Scallions

This recipe is sort of revolutionary in the way that I think about Asian food. Rather than the quick-cooking stir-fries and noodle dishes I usually make, this pork gets braised for over an hour, allowing the fat to render out and slowly baste the meat to form succulent, melt-in-your-mouth pieces. Some flash-cooked green onions are stirred in at the end to add some freshness and color, but you could certainly add even more veggies to it or serve them on the side. Don’t be afraid of the "caramel sauce" – the spicy Sriracha and salty fish sauce create a really complex and flavorful glaze that balances out the sweetness of the brown sugar. It’s even better for leftovers, so plan on making double.

Asian Caramel Pork & Scallions:
  • Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large pot until very hot.
  • Cut 2 lbs. pork butt* into large bite-size pieces, trimming off any excess fat.
  • Add in some of the pork (don't overcrowd the pan) and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and repeat until all of the meat has been browned and removed to a plate.
  • Turn the heat to very low and add in 3/4 c. dark brown sugar.
  • Stir the sugar until melted and bubbling and return the heat to medium.
  • Add in 3 finely sliced shallots, 4 finely sliced garlic cloves, and 1 large piece of match-stick sized fresh ginger.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant, then add in 1/3 c. fish sauce and 1 tbsp. Sriracha hot sauce.**
  • Stir to combine, then add in the the meat and any juices from the plate and 1/4 c. water. Add a small pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • Bring liquid to a boil, then cover with a lid and lower to a simmer.
  • Cook over a low flame for 70 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Spoon off any excess fat from the pan and check for seasoning.
  • Meanwhile, slice 1 bunch of green onions into 1 inch pieces and cook in a hot skillet for 2 minutes, or until wilted.
  • Add the scallions to the pork and stir to combine.
  • Serve with brown rice.

Serves four
*This piece of meat actually comes from the shoulder.
**Add more or less depending on your level of heat tolerance.