Slow-Cooker Japanese Pork Curry

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 360 minutes
Servings: 8

Japanese-style curries have a milder flavor than traditional Indian-style curries, and there are as many recipes as there are grandmothers. We’re particularly partial to this slow-cooker version, with lots of tender pork, buttery potatoes and earthy carrots in a tangy, slightly sweet sauce. If your slow cooker doesn’t have a flameproof insert, do the first three steps in a large sauté pan on the stove top, then transfer the ingredients to your slow cooker insert after you deglaze the pan and bring the broth to a boil.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. (1.5 kg) pork shoulder, cut into 3 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. mild yellow curry powder
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste or ketchup
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. (500 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 large apple, such as Pink Lady, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 can (13 1/2 oz./425 g) coconut milk, shaken well before opening

Directions:

Season the pork all over with salt.

Put a flameproof slow-cooker insert on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. Working in batches, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side without moving them until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer the pork pieces to a plate.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the insert. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, honey and 1 tsp. salt. Slowly pour in 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) of the chicken broth and deglaze the insert, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the insert bottom with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the remaining 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) broth until mixed. Bring to a boil.

Transfer the insert to the slow cooker and add the pork. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Add the potatoes, carrots and apple, then cover and cook on low for 4 hours more. The pork and vegetables should be tender.

Using a large spoon, skim off any fat from the top of the cooking liquid. Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, break the pork into large chunks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Return the meat to the slow cooker along with the coconut milk and stir gently to combine. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes to warm through. Taste and season with salt.

Divide the curry among individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen 2014)

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