CHINESE BRAISED PORK BELLY
HANDS-ON 30 min TOTAL 2 hr, 30 min SERVES 12 SUBMITTED BY andrea nguyen
3 pounds skinless pork belly [From our kitchen: You can substitute pork shoulder here. Just shred it and discard the fat after braising.] 1 tablespoon canola oil
⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar 4 cups water
5 large green onions, white and green parts, bias-cut into 2-inch pieces, plus more for garnish 8 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup dry sherry, preferably fino ½ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce 2 tablespoons dark molasses 8 whole star anise
1 cucumber, thinly sliced
1. Cut pork into 8 (2x3-inch) pieces.
Heat oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat. In 2 batches, sear pork, fat sides first, until light golden,
30 to 60 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate. Pour out all but 1½ to 2 tablespoons drippings.
2. Add ⅓ cup sugar to pot; melt, stirring if needed, over medium-high heat.
Cook until a light caramel color, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, then return pork to pot, turning pieces to coat. When sugar darkens to an orange color, after about 1 minute, add water; stir to loosen any sugar stuck to bottom. 3. Add green onions, garlic, sherry, soy sauce, molasses, star anise, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. If needed, add up to ½ cup additional water to nearly cover pork. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer, covered, turning occasionally, until a knife inserted ¼ inch into fat layer meets little resistance, about
1 hour and 45 minutes.
4. Transfer pork to a plate with a slotted spoon; loosely cover. Skim fat and drain solids from cooking liquid. Return
4 cups liquid to pot and bring to a boil; simmer over medium-high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Sauce will thicken more as it cools. (Pork and sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead and chilled separately in airtight containers.)
5. Slice pork into 24 (½-inch-thick) pieces. Working in batches, warm pork with half the sauce in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Turn pork frequently to coat and, if desired, let sear slightly. Serve on Andrea’s Steamed Buns with remaining sauce. Garnish with cucumber slices and remaining green onions. [From our kitchen: We added a little sriracha to some of the buns, too.]
PER 2-PIECE SERVING: 415 CAL; 26.1 FAT
(8.6g SAT); 25.4g PRO; 16.1g CARB; 0.5g FIBER; 322mg SODIUM; 11.8g SUGARS