Friday, February 19, 2010

Braised pork shoulder with steamed buns

This dish was inspired by a visit to Foxley, a popular tapas bar here in TO. They served a braised pork belly, which you sandwiched in steamed chinese buns, and the unctuousness of the pork fat was just heavenly!

I decided to redesign the dish with pork shoulder, a much leaner cut that really lends itself well to slow cooking. The slow, steady heat breaks down the collagen between the muscles and the previously tough, sinewy meat falls off the bone in strands of deliciousness.

I went to my regular Asian grocer and bought these steamed buns in the refrigerator section. Ten minutes in the steamer and they were as good as any you could get in Chinatown. I would have preferred thinner buns, but these were all I could find.

3 lb bone-in skin-on pork shoulder
1 onion, quartered
3 slices ginger
4 cloves garlic
1 stick cinnamon
1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
4 pcs. star anise
2 tbsp. dried black beans
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chinese cooking wine
3 tbsp. oyster sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup water
3 stalks green onion, slices into shreds

1. Place all ingredients except the green onions into a bowl that's just large enough to hold the meat.
2. Put the meat in the bowl and let meat marinate in the fridge overnight.
3. Remove the meat from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Save the marinade!
4. Heat a large heavy pot and coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil.
5. Brown the meat well on all sides.
6. Add the marinade and let it come to a boil.
7. Lower heat until the sauce is barely simmering. Cover the pot with a tight lid and cook until pork is tender, about 3 hours or so. Turn the meat gently every 45 minutes or so.
8. When the meat is done, gently lift the meat from the pot and place on your serving platter.
9. Reduce the marinade until it's thick and syrupy.
10. Strain and pour on top of the meat.
11. Garnish with green onions and serve with buns.

**I added a few rehydrated dried chinese mushrooms but they really remained untouched. The pork is the star of this dish!

Here was my finished dish!

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