Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet and spicy five-spice pork

A friend promised me that buying a slow cooker would change my life. And so it has.  There is nothing more satisfying than walking into the house filled with slow-cooker smells and consuming a meal that took an entire day to cook (but only 15 minutes to prepare).

I made this recipe four times last month. The meat becomes insanely tender stewing in the salty-sweet-spicy marinade for so long.  If you haven't tried five-spice powder before – it's very aromatic, a ground mixture of fragrant star anise and fennel, spicy Sichuan peppercorns, and sweet cloves and cinnamon. It's perfect when sweetened with brown sugar and paired with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce.

Recipe is for those hunks of meat at the top...ignore the other things.

Sweet and spicy five-spice pork
Adapted from Real Simple

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sliced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2.5 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 scallions, sliced

  1. Heat cooking oil in a skillet. Sear pork chunks until a brown crust is formed on all sides. Toss into slow cooker.
  2. Mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, chili-garlic sauce, sliced ginger, five-spice powder, salt, white pepper and black pepper. Pour mixture over pork.
  3. Cook, covered, on low for 8-9 hours (or on high for 5-6 hours) until pork is tender.
  4. Top with sliced scallions and serve with rice.