Monday, February 6, 2012

A Month of Food Blogging (4 of 28) : Chashu (Japanese stewed pork)



Most of my recipes are an amalgamation. I borrow a bit from here, a bit from there, throw my own twist on it... Not this one. This one is straight from the holy lips of the pork queen: Chashu Rice Bowl. It is perfect as it is.

Chashu is a stewed pork recipe. It's most traditionally served thinly sliced over ramen, but it's delicious in a lot of other dishes as well. It's not a 30 minute dish. To get the consistency right, it needs to simmer for one and a half to two hours. So why am I mentioning it? It's really easy to make, about 5 minutes worth of effort on a weekend, and then you can ignore it for two hours. It freezes really well, and it remixes endlessly for dishes that are less than 30 minutes. I'll give two recipes this month, one over ramen, and one as an Asian-inflected pulled pork sandwich, but you can have it as a stand-alone meat, as part of a rice bowl, in pot-stickers, as the base for a hearty and fast pork soup... Make sure to save the braising liquid as well, it makes a great BBQ sauce for the pulled pork sandwich.


Chashu


Servings: 8
Time: 1 1/2 hours
Planning Ahead: None
The Funny Stuff: Fresh ginger, mirin, miso paste
Virtues: 5 minutes of effort
Downsides: Pork shoulder is a fatty cut, so trim it and use sparingly
Calories: 297

Ingredients
1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder
2 cups water
1/4 cup soy sauce
2″ piece fresh ginger, sliced thinly
1 green onion
3/8 cup mirin
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp miso paste
3 garlic cloves
About 20 peppercorns

Directions
Smash the garlic cloves with the flat of your knife to partially crush them, then peel the skins off.


Put the pork shoulder and the dry ingredients in a pan.


Add the wet ingredients.


You want the liquid to almost cover the pork, but you don't want to dilute it, so cut the pork down into chunks until it's mostly underwater.


Cover it, put it over medium-low heat, and ignore the heck out of it for the next hour and a half to two hours. Go watch YouTube videos, or play with your kids, or do homework or something. If you're strangely anal, like me, you might want to flip it halfway through, so that the braising liquid colors both sides evenly.



Return to the scene of the crime. Should look something like this. It won't be pretty, but it should smell like a riot in a potsticker factory.


And it'll be crazy tender.


You now have chashu. Toss it in the fridge or freezer. Don't forget to save the braising liquid! Don't worry about straining out the ginger and peppercorns, they'll continue to slowly add more flavor.

Photo credits to Aaron Wood and Aleatha Parker-Wood.
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