There are as many versions of this hong shao rou dish as there are families because recipes for Chinese red-cooked pork vary by region and often are passed down within generations. The up-shot though, is succulent pork coated in savory spiced caramel. And the verdict? In a word, FANTASTIC!!
Dark soy sauce develops a crimson tint with long-cooking, lending hong shao rou its characteristic hue. This Instant Pot iteration from Milk Street omits the condiment, which can be tricky to source, resulting in a dish that’s less red but no less delicious. The pork shoulder is braised with ginger, garlic and warm spices, rounded out by sugar, soy sauce and dry sherry, an easier-to-find alternative to Shaoxing, the rice wine traditionally used in the dish. (We had some Shaoxing on hand.)
Whether pressure- or slow-cooked until fork-tender, the meat is reserved and its aromatic braising liquid is reduced into a sticky-sweet sauce. Assertive and robust in flavor, hong shao rou is best served with plain rice and simple steamed or stir-fried vegetables. So we paired ours with steamed jasmine rice and baby bok choy sautéed with ginger, garlic, Shaoxing rice wine—many of the same ingredients as the pork.
NOTE: Don’t add liquid to the pot other than the ⅓ cup of dry sherry. Allowing the pork to braise in its own juices yields rich, meaty flavor and results in less liquid to reduce to a glaze at the end.
3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise pods
1/3 cup dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce, preferably dark soy sauce
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select Normal Sauté. Add the sugar and 1 tablespoon water, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has liquified and is golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add the pork and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is no longer pink and has rendered some fat, 7 to 10 minutes.
Stir in the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise, sherry and soy sauce. Press Cancel, then distribute the mixture in an even layer.
FAST: Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 25 minutes. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot. OR
SLOW: Select More/High Sauté and bring the mixture to a boil. Press Cancel, lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Venting. Select Slow Cook and set the temperature to More/High. Set the cooking time for 4½ to 5½ hours; the pork is done when a skewer inserted into a piece meets no resistance. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
Transfer the pork to a medium bowl, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot. If necessary, using a large spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the liquid.
Select More/High Sauté, bring the liquid to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to the consistency of honey, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove and discard the cinnamon and star anise.
Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pot and cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press Cancel to turn off the pot.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.
Garlic and lemon with chicken is an iconic pairing that satisfies almost any appetite. In this recipe, poultry pieces are marinated in lemon and garlic, then topped with a sauce made with more of the same, producing extremely flavorful and juicy chicken.
One of the toppings is pimento which adds not only a bright pop of color, but more depth of flavor. If you’ve ever tried southern pimento cheese, or enjoyed pimento stuffed green olives, you have already tried the pimento pepper in pickled form. The word “pimiento” translates to “pepper” from Spanish. Pimento peppers are not spicy, but rather mild, sweet and succulent.
While the recipe indicates to start with a whole chicken and cut it down into pieces (our preference), you could just as easily buy bone-in, skin-on pieces to begin with, especially if the eaters go for all white meat or all dark meat.
Please keep in mind that the chicken needs to marinate at least an hour up to overnight. Doing so in the morning, allows for about 8-10 hours.
There is a good amount of sauce left in the skillet so dredge your side veg into it. Our broccolini sopped up many of the juices creating a more cohesive dinner.
1/2 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
One 3 1/2- to 4-lb. chicken, cut into pieces
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. honey, plus more if needed
1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup) plus 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
One 4-oz. jar diced pimientos, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for garnish
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add the chicken pieces to a large resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the top. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible, and massage the marinade around the chicken to coat evenly.
Refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer, skin-side up, to a large cast-iron skillet. Pour half the marinade all over the chicken in the skillet.
Sprinkle the chicken with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until the chicken is deeply browned, the meat is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 30-40 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh, avoiding bone, should read 165 degrees F.)
Remove the chicken to a platter and let rest while you make the sauce.
For the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the honey, oregano, garlic, lemon juice and zest and 1/4 cup skimmed drippings from the skillet and bring to simmer.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, and if too tangy, add a bit more honey. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then garnish with the pimientos, chopped parsley and lemon wedges and serve.
We just can’t get enough of roasted or grilled chicken. The bird is so versatile and the ways to prepare it are endless! “Pantry superstars do the heavy lifting in this easy, crowd-pleasing grilled chicken dinner.”
Now If you can find a whole chicken that is already split, the result is a chicken dinner with the same properties of spatchcocking (quick-cooking, lots of surface area to get charred, crispy skin) but which is more manageable than dealing with a whole bird. If you can’t score one, buy a whole chicken, butterfly it, then split it yourself by slicing directly between the two breasts.
For the tangy glaze, stir up a few condiment powerhouses like marmalade, Dijon mustard, and sherry vinegar, and brush them onto the chicken after cooking it most of the way through, covered over indirect heat. For the final 10 to 15 minutes, transfer the chicken halves to direct heat and baste with every flip until glistening and charred. Leftover glaze can be cooked down as a sauce to serve alongside the finished dish.
Generously season chicken halves all over with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes, or chill up to 1 day. If chilling, let sit at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.
Whisk marmalade, mustard, vinegar, soy sauce, jalapeño (if using), and garlic in a small bowl to combine. Set glaze aside.
Prepare a grill for medium-high indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side of grill; for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off). Lightly oil grate. Pat chicken dry with paper towels, then rub with 1 Tbsp. oil. Place, skin side down, over indirect heat. Cover grill and grill chicken, turning halfway through, until skin is lightly browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thighs registers 120°–130°, 15–20 minutes.
Uncover grill, turn chicken over, and move over direct heat. Brush chicken with reserved glaze. Grill, turning often and brushing generously with glaze (move to indirect heat if browning too quickly), until charred in spots and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 150° (it will climb to 160° as chicken rests), 10–15 minutes. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a cutting board; let rest 15 minutes.
While chicken is resting, transfer any remaining glaze to a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Carve chicken and transfer to a platter; sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with sauce alongside.
Typically, we find lamb shoulder chops to be a tough cut of meat and benefit from a longer braise. However, Cook’s Illustrated tried a much shorter braise than usual for this lamb chop recipe—just enough to cook the meat. After only 15 to 20 minutes, they claimed the lamb was tender, but we beg to differ.
Our initial concerns at the short amount of time (15 to 20 minutes originally) the lamb chops cooked were well-founded. After 20 minutes, they were still tough and we added another 10 minutes to the braise. In fact, they could have used even more time to tenderize. In the past, we’ve always braised them, covered over low heat for 2 hours, until they were fall-apart tender.
The much-anticipated caper and red pepper sauce with the deglazing liquid was delicious! Because we only cooked two chops, there was some sauce leftover which we made good use of on some pork chops the following day. Our pairings for the lamb included a side salad and a recent new potato fave, Crispy Parmesan Potatoes.
4 lamb shoulder chops, about 3/4 inch thick, trimmed of external fat
Salt and ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
2 small cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup dry red wine
1 cup canned tomatoes packed in puree, chopped
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
2 Tbsp. capers, drained
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat. Cooking in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding, add 2 chops; sauté until brown on both sides, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside. Repeat.
Pour fat from pan; return pan to medium heat, adding remaining tablespoon of oil. Add onion and pepper; sauté until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.
Add wine; simmer until reduced by half, scraping browned bits from pan bottom with wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, then return chops to pan. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until chops are cooked through but tender, at least 30 minutes.
Transfer chops to each of four plates. Stir parsley, capers, and balsamic vinegar into braising liquid; simmer until sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, spoon portion of sauce over each chop, and serve.