Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slow-Cooked Asian Pork Shoulder

Slow-Cooked Asian Pork Shoulder
I've been wanting to use my slow cooker more often as of late. But, to be honest, I am not fond of the traditional "Crock Pot" recipes. I find the traditional flavors of the usual chuck meat, potatoes, celery, carrots, and stock a little blasé.

So, anytime I see an interesting recipe for braised anything, I eagerly try to adapt it to the slow cooker.

On Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Anne Burrell introduced an Asian version of a braised pork shoulder. Since I've gone gluten-free three months ago, my Asian food options have been limited. So, this was a perfect opportunity to 1) use my slow cooker 2) enjoy Asian flavors 3) try an updated slow cooker recipe.

Braising: Traditional vs. Slow Cooker

Basic Steps of Braising in a Dutch/French Oven: I wish I had this cult classic from Le Creuset
  1. Sear the Meat 
  2. Saute the Mirepoix (i.e., aromatics) 
  3. Deglaze  
  4. Braise  
Adjusted Steps of Braising in Slow Cooker:  
  1. Sear the Meat My slow cooker allows me to pull out the pan and cook on the stove top.
  2. Simply add Mirepoix over meat (i.e., aromatics) You can sauté in advance in you'd like, but I don't.
  3. Pour liquid into pan Generally, this is stock. Some recipes call for wine or vinegars. Typically you should reduce the amount of liquid used in a slow cooker, if using a traditional recipe.
  4. Braise Set for 3-4 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low
Here's a video from the Cooking Channel on Braising 101.

Tip: If your recipe calls for vegetables, cut them into larger rather than smaller pieces to prevent them from over-cooking. 

Recipe for Slow-Cooked Asian Pork Shoulder

Adapted from Burrell's recipe

  • EVOO
  • One 3-pound pork shoulder, sliced into 4 to 5 steaks Mine was about 4 lbs with bone-in, so I sliced where the meat 
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Sauce
    • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
    • One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated over my microplane
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce I used gluten-free tamari from San-J
    • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1 cup chicken stock (I used 1 cup homemade turkey stock and 1 cup homemade vegetable stock, which ended up being too much)
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sambal oelek
    • 3 star anise
    • Zest and juice of 1 orange, zest removed in wide strips with a peeler
  1. Season room temperature pork generously on both sides.  
  2. Add EVOO to pan set on high heat over stove.
  3. Sear pork on all sides until brown. Remove from the pan and reserve. Discard drippings from pan. Then, return pork to pan. 
  4. Add all the ingredients for the sauce in the pan. Cover pan and set slow cooker on High for 3-4 hours.  
  5. When the pork is cooked and tender, remove pork from pan. 
  6. Place pan over over medium heat on stove, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces to a sticky sauce consistency. Serve the pork with reduced sauce poured over. Based on my photo below, I did not reduce my sauce enough. But, it still tasted great.
Pork roast made in slow-cooker
Asian Braised Pork served with Pickled Vegetable Salad

Happy Birthday to my best friend, Sunny, for whom I made this meal.

Do you have any modern takes on slow-cooker recipes? If so, please share below.

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