Chinese Pork & Vegetable Hot Pot
The richly flavored red braises characteristic of Chinese cooking make warming winter meals that can be adapted to a slow cooker. Typically, seasonings of anise, cinnamon and ginger distinguish these dishes. Pork shoulder becomes meltingly tender during the slow braise. Serve over noodles or brown rice, with stir-fried napa cabbage.
Yield: 6 servings, 1 generous cup each
Active Time: 40
Total Time: 225
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 medium white turnips, (8 ounces total), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch-wide wedges
- 2 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, (picnic or Boston-butt), trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
- 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons medium or dry sherry, (see Ingredient Note)
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2-4 teaspoons Chinese chile-garlic sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 star anise pod, (see Ingredient Note) or 1 teaspoon aniseed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, (see Ingredient Note) for garnish
- Place carrots and turnips in the bottom and up the sides of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with pork and scallion whites. Bring broth, water, soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, ginger, vinegar, chile-garlic sauce to taste and garlic to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour over the pork and vegetables. Nestle star anise pod (or aniseed) and cinnamon stick into the stew. Cover and cook until the pork and vegetables are tender, 3 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5 1/2 to 6 hours on low.
- Discard the star anise pod and cinnamon stick. Skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew. Add the cornstarch mixture, cover and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens and sesame seeds.
Tips & Notes
- Ingredient Notes: Sherry is a type of fortified wine originally from southern Spain. Don't use the “cooking sherry” sold in many supermarkets—it can be surprisingly high in sodium. Instead, purchase medium or dry sherry that's sold with other fortified wines in your wine or liquor store.
- Star anise (named for its star-shaped pods) lends a distinctive licorice-like flavor to numerous Asian dishes. The pods come from a small evergreen tree that is native to China. Look for star anise in the bulk spice sections of natural-foods stores, in Asian markets or online at penzeys.com.
- Sesame seeds can be purchased already toasted. If you can't find them, toast your own in a small dry skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (110% daily value), Zinc (33% dv), Vitamin C (25% dv), Potassium (18% dv).
1 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 vegetable, 3 1/2 medium-fat meat