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Five-Spice Braised Pork

This recipe calls for country-style pork ribs, which are cut from the shoulder and include a minimum of three ribs. They are meatier than other types of pork ribs. Brown the pork over medium-high heat to produce a crisp exterior and rich taste. Seasoning the meat with Szechuan peppercorns both before and after braising creates complex flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. whole Szechuan peppercorns*
  • 3 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 4 lb. country-style pork ribs
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 bottle (16 oz.) Chinese slow-cooking sauce*
  • Sliced green onions for garnish
  • Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

In a small fry pan over medium heat, toast the peppercorns, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer the peppercorns to a mortar and crush with a pestle until fairly fine. Transfer 1 Tbs. to a small bowl and stir in the salt. Reserve the remaining crushed peppercorns for garnish.

Rub the ribs with the peppercorn-salt mixture.

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until almost smoking. Working in batches (do not overcrowd), brown the ribs 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the yellow onions and slow-cooking sauce. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours or according to the manufacturers instructions.

Using a large spoon, skim the fat off the sauce. Transfer the ribs and sauce to a large serving bowl. Garnish with green onions and the reserved crushed peppercorns. Serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves 6 to 8.

* Available at Williams-Sonoma stores.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.