Tuesday, September 28, 2010

recipe : cider & five spice braised pork shoulder

If you've known me for a while, you'll no doubt remember that one of my favorite things to cook (and eat) is Shanghai Pork Shoulder (recipe here). Well, our household was pretty sad to discover a soy allergy that now prevents us from partaking in this wonderful, bold dish. A few weeks ago, I set out to reinvent the recipe, and I am pleased to tell you that the results are amazing! If you're looking for an Asian-style recipe that is super-easy, bursts with flavor, and works well for both pork and chicken, here's your girl:

Cider & Five Spice Braised Pork Shoulder

4 pound bone-in pork shoulder
2c apple cider
1t Chinese Five-Spice Powder
5 star anise
1/3c oyster sauce
1T salt
1/2c sugar
3 cloves garlic
2 slices fresh garlic

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil, and blanch the pork shoulder for 3-5 minutes - until the outside of the meat is whitened and sealed. Drain and rinse in cold water.

In a medium stock pot, combine all ingredients. Add pork shoulder and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, turning meat every 30-45 minutes. Cook for 2-3 hours - until meat is completely tender and falling off bone.

Uncover, increase heat to bring liquid to boil, and cook until the sauce reduces to approx 1-2 cups or until sauce caramelizes, basting top of pork with the sauce throughout reduction time.

I find this best served with stick white jasmine rice and lightly steamed vegetables. Use the extra sauce (skim fat after it cools) on scrambled eggs, or to toss with noodles.

I hope you'll let me know if you try it - we used the same recipe this week to make chicken in the crock pot, and it was great. If you have a soy allergy, be sure to read the ingredients on the oyster sauce - some brands do contain soy.

Bon appetit, or as the say in China - gan bei!


  1. That looks delicious!

    We too have people with soy allergies and we use Coconut Aminos as a substitute. It's now available through Azure Standard.

  2. That sounds good. I'm not a pork lover but hubby would probably appreciate it if I made him some meat once in a while! ;-) Gonna try this soon... my kids would probably like it. Can I get the Chinese five spice at the grocery store? It's not spicy, is it?

  3. Megan - great tip! thx!

    Jen - you might be able to get it at your grocery store - I was surprised not to find it at ours. Fortunately, we have an Asian market 2 blocks away! If you need some, I can send it to you. :) You can also do this with chicken - just as yummy!

    ps: when are you going to cave in and get on facebook?!?