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Red-Cooked Pork Shoulder and Chestnuts

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Serves 6

  • by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein from Web only

Red-cooking is a traditional Chinese braising technique, so named because high-quality soy sauce is said to develop a red tint after long-cooking. Here, that technique helps pork shoulder morph into a consummate bowl of comfort food.

  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks, slit lengthwise, rinsed, then thinly sliced crosswise, white and pale-green parts only (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 6 Tbs. Shaoxing or dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup peeled, julienned fresh ginger (cut into 1/8 x 1/8-inch matchsticks; from a 3-inch piece)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. slivered garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder (also called butt), trimmed and cut into 4 large pieces
  • 2 cups jarred roasted peeled chestnuts
  • 2 Tbs. plain rice vinegar, more to taste
  • Cooked medium-grain white rice or udon noodles, for serving
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Stir the leeks, soy sauce, Shaoxing or sherry, ginger, sugar, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and star anise pod in a 6-quart slow cooker. Nestle the chunks of pork shoulder into the mixture. Sprinkle the chestnuts on top.

Cover and cook on low until the pork is fork-tender 5 to 7 hours. Discard the cinnamon sticks and star anise pod and stir in the rice vinegar.

Break the pork into smaller chunks and serve on the rice or noodles with the chestnuts, a little of the sauce, and a sprinkle of scallions.

Photo: Scott Phillips

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