Finally it is starting to feel a bit like summer around here! About time, too, since it is the end of June…
Even though I have very little time for cooking of late, I’ve made a few dishes that are definitely going on our hit parade. This easy braised pork dish is one of them: it requires very little prep time, and the result is an outstanding balance of savory, salty, sweet and spicy, with a touch of heat and a luxurious mouth-feel. You will want to serve it over rice to soak up all that lovely sauce—even more so with the reheated leftovers!
I didn’t have any Chinese five-spice, which I have had miserable luck tracking down in grocery stores, so I made my own makeshift blend based on Pim’s recommendations. Needing so little, I just did pinches of freshly grated star anise, ground cassia, coarsely crushed sichuan peppercorns, ground cumin, clove, and coriander, but I will certainly make a larger amount with whole toasted spices, if I ever get a spice grinder.
Hawaiian-Style Braised Pork Ribs
3 1/2 lb boneless country-style pork spareribs, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
3 T vegetable oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 T chopped peeled fresh ginger
12 oz bone broth
1/3 C tamari
1 T sucanat
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 1/2 T non-GMO cornstarch
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of pork to pot and sauté until brown, about 6 minutes; transfer to bowl. Repeat with remaining pork. Add garlic and ginger to pot; sauté 1 minute. Return pork and any juices to pot. Add broth, soy sauce, sugar, crushed red pepper, and five-spice powder; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until pork is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Scoop out about half a cup of braising liquid and whisk it together with cornstarch in a cup to dissolve; mix back into pork. Simmer until gravy thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly and chill. Rewarm over low heat.)
Source: Slightly adapted from Epicurious.
Update 7/27/08: Jeremy brought home 6.5 pounds of boneless pork ribs from Costco yesterday, so I made a double batch of this braised pork for dinner (and many many leftovers) tonight. I got some Chinese 5-spice from Penzey’s recently, and used a quarter teaspoon of that and added cumin, coriander and Szechuan peppercorns to it for my personal blend. I also used chicken stock that I made last night from a rotisserie chicken carcass. It came out beautifully, just like the first time, and I served it with stir-fried red cabbage from the accompanying Epicurious recipe, adding a bit of garlic to the ginger.
Update 2/10/09: Braised meat makes excellent meals for Nolan because they come out so perfectly tender. He ate lots of this pork broken up a bit and mixed with rice and veggies.
Update 1/7/15: Still a perennial favorite, I have updated the ingredient list to reflect the use of gluten-free tamari and unrefined sucanat. Tonight’s meal was served with wild rice, stir-fried red cabbage, and grain-free scallion pancakes.