Asian-Style Pork with Noodles
This sophisticated version of chow mein has been reinvented as a spicy noodle salad. The flavors are best when the dish is served at room temperature, making it an ideal candidate for a picnic. Complete the menu with sliced cucumbers tossed with a dressing of rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil and sugar, and accompany with ice-cold Japanese beer.
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1/8 tsp. sugar
- 2 or 3 drops Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
- 1/8 tsp. salt
2 1⁄2 lb. (1.25 kg) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of most fat
and cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces, each about 1 inch (2.5
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sake, beer or dry white wine
- 1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) chicken stock
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 lb. (500 g) fresh Chinese egg noodles
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 small red serrano chile, seeded and minced (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup (1⁄3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh cilantro
- 1⁄4 cup (1⁄3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
To make the vinaigrette in a blender or mini food processor, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, sugar, Tabasco to taste and salt and process for 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the pork and sear, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the sake and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Stir in the stock and transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker. Add the carrots and place the pork and any accumulated juices on top. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours. The meat should be very tender.
Transfer the pork to a platter and let rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, using a large spoon, skim off as much fat from the braising liquid as possible. Shred the pork with 2 forks, then return it to the braising liquid.
Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles, stir and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, chile, the vinaigrette to taste, half each of the cilantro and parsley, about two-thirds of the shredded pork and a generous amount of the braising liquid. Toss to mix well.
Transfer to a platter and arrange the remaining pork, cilantro, and parsley over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns (Weldon Owen, 2010).