Tag Archives: pork shoulder

Chinese Ginger-Soy Braised Pork

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.

Chinese Ginger-Soy Braised Pork

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with the scallion greens.


Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic

From a recent issue of Milk Street, we found out that Carne Vinha D’alhos, or pork with wine and garlic, is a traditional Christmas dish from the Portuguese island of Madeira and the precursor to the spicy Indian curry called vindaloo.

To make it, chunks of pork are marinated in a heady mixture of wine, vinegar, garlic and herbs for up to a few days before they’re cooked until tender. This version of Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic was streamlined using pork shoulder instead of leaner pork loin, and the meat can marinate anywhere from 1 to 48 hours. (Ours marinated for 24 hours.)

Pork shoulder is a cut that requires lengthy cooking to become tender, so this oven-braised for about 1½ hours. Next, you brown the meat after simmering to develop a rich, flavorful caramelization. The marinade is then reduced to a light glaze, and the pork is finished by coating it with the reduction.

In Madeira, the pork typically is piled onto crusty rolls to make sandwiches, but we paired ours with another recipe from Milk Street: Portuguese Wine-Braised Potatoes with Garlic and Chiles where a mixture of wine and chicken broth are used for simmering the spuds to render them soft and tender.

After simmering the pork, be sure to drain the pieces on a rack as directed. This helps ensure nice caramelization when the pork is browned in the skillet. Finally, when skimming the fat off the braising liquid, be sure to reserve it for browning the pork.

Tip: Don’t use an uncoated cast-iron Dutch oven. Enamel-coated cast-iron is fine, but in an uncoated cast-iron pot—even in one that is well seasoned—the acidity of the marinade may react with the iron, producing metallic “off” flavors. A stainless steel cooking surface is fine, too, but avoid aluminum unless it has been treated to make it nonreactive.

Madeiran Pork with Wine and Garlic

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch chunks
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 10 bay leaves
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 whole cloves (optional)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Madeira wine
  • ¼ cup minced fresh oregano


  1. In a large Dutch oven, stir together the pork, wine, vinegar, bay, garlic, dried oregano, pepper flakes, cloves (if using) and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 48 hours.
  2. When you are ready to cook the pork, heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Set the pot, uncovered, over medium-high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Re-cover, transfer to the oven and cook until a skewer inserted into the pork meets just a little resistance, about 1½ hours, stirring once about halfway through.
  3. Set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork and garlic to the rack, removing and discarding the bay and cloves (if used); set aside. Tilt the pot to pool the cooking liquid to one side, then use a wide spoon to skim off as much fat as possible; reserve the fat. Or use a fat separator.
  4. Add the Madeira to the pot, bring to a boil over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes; set aside. (We ended up with a LOT of liquid, so it took twice as long to reduce.) Remove and discard any large bits of fat on the exterior of the pieces of pork.
  5. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved pork fat until barely smoking. Add the pork and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reduced cooking liquid. Return to medium-high and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the pork is lightly glazed and begins to sizzle, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then stir in the fresh oregano. Transfer to a serving dish.


Recipe by Diane Unger for Milk Street

Pork Shoulder with Guinness, Dried Cherries and Sweet Potato

Pork shoulder is a classic for braising. The meat turns nearly spoonable but still slices nicely, and leftovers are great for sandwiches. In this recipe the pork is combined with dried cherries and sweet potatoes, balancing their sweetness with the slightly bitter taste of Guinness stout and molasses. Odd combination? I thought so too, but OMG, it was fantastic!

It hailed from renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s cookbook “Braise, A Journey Through International Cuisine” where all of his recipes are influenced with a global perspective. We know that braising transforms inexpensive, tough cuts of meat into succulent soft morsels. And as Daniel writes “In fact, the cheaper, more sinewy, and more chewy the meat is to begin with, the more delectable it’s texture and the thicker the sauce after cooking.”

The original recipe, which is depicted below, calls for a 5-1/2 pound shoulder roast. We happened to have a 3-1/2 pound pork roast on hand, so that’s what we used and adjusted the other ingredients to follow suit. Then we completed the meal with roasted cauliflower and carrots.

Don’t forget to make the Guinness stout and cherry sauce ahead of time. It needs to sit for at least an hour or be refrigerated overnight for the flavors to meld.

Pork Shoulder with Guinness, Dried Cherries and Sweet Potato

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 5 cups Guinness stout
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (51/2-lb.) pork shoulder roast
  • Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 5 whole allspice, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and roughly chopped


  1. Bring the stout, cherries, and vinegar to a simmer in a saucepan. Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for at least 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
  3. Warm the oil in a large cast-iron pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt and ground black pepper and sear on all sides until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the pork shoulder to a platter. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot.
  4. Add the onion and the crushed black pepper to the pot and sauté for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Add the pork shoulder, the marinated cherries and liquid, allspice, bay leaves, molasses, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  6. Cover the pot, transfer it to the oven, and braise for 1 hour, turning the pork once during cooking. Add the sweet potatoes and continue to braise for 2 more hours, turning two more times. If the sauce is too thin or is not flavored intensely enough, ladle most of it off into another pot and simmer it until it thickens and intensifies. Then add it back to the first pot.
  7. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce on top.


Recipe Courtesy of “Braise: A Journey Through International Cuisine,” ECCO/Harper Collins – 2006

Szechuan Pork Stew and Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

For those of you who favor bold Asian dishes, you’re going to want to put this recipe on your short list. It used to be that the only place to experience Szechuan cooking was China’s Sichuan province—a region located in the southwestern part of the country. But it is quite common just about everywhere now.

Though it is particularly unique in that Szechuan cooking is known for its dishes loaded with beef, rice, vegetables and, of course, Szechuan (or Sichuan) pepper. Although the main protein in this dish is pork.

Szechuan pepper is the trademark ingredient in Szechuan cuisine, however it doesn’t carry a lot of heat because it’s not even a pepper! Instead the regional spice is made from tiny peppercorns made from the dried husk of an ash shrub. These tiny pink peppercorns provide a kick of citrusy flavor that marries well with ingredients like ginger, soy and steamed veggies.

I didn’t notice until after I made and ate this fabulous dish, that I had completely forgotten to include the 1 tablespoon of sugar in the pork marinade. But we didn’t miss it at all, so if you have scaled back on sugar in your diet, then I would say it is OK to eliminate it here.

At the very end of the cooking process, we weren’t satisfied with how thin the liquid in the stew appeared. Russ made a last minute decision to make a slurry from corn starch and water to thicken the sauce. It only took another couple of minutes, and not only coated the meat nicely, it gave a more substantial appearance overall.

Szechuan Pork Stew with Chiles

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


For the Marinade:

  • 2 lb. pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. five-spice

For the Stew:

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
  • 1 knob ginger (about 2 oz.), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 10 whole dried red chiles
  • 1 Tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns (about 1/4 oz.), cracked
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1 Tbsp. water for slurry (optional)
  • 4 scallions (both white and green parts), thinly sliced


Make the Marinade:

  1. Toss the pork cubes with the soy sauce, wine, sesame oil, sugar, and five-spice powder. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, or, cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. (We marinaded for 8 hours.)

Make the Stew:

  1. Sprinkle the pork with the cornstarch and toss to coat.
  2. Heat a large, heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, and when it’s shimmering, add half of the pork in an even layer, Cook, undisturbed, until browned around the edges, and pork lifts easily with tongs, about 3 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Flip, and cook the other side until browned, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Repeat the process with the remaining half of the pork.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the ginger, garlic, szechuan peppers and chiles. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 2 minutes.
  7. Add the broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add the pork and any accumulated juices. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender, about 1 hour.
  9. To make a thicker sauce, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of cold water and mix until smooth. Heat the pot until a simmering boil and add the slurry a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir together for 30 seconds.
  10. Serve immediately over steamed jasmine rice.


Adapted from a recipe for Fine Cooking

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

Chinese broccoli, also known as Chinese kale, is a leafy green vegetable closely related to thick-stemmed broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. It has flat leaves, thick stems, and tiny florets. It’s not easy to find Chinese broccoli in regular grocery stores, so check your local Asian market, which is more likely to carry it.

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 lb. Chinese broccoli, trimmed and cut into small sections
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable cooking oil
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil


  1. Trim Chinese broccoli, remove the hard skins and diagonally cut into 2″ sections. Separate the leaves and roughly chop.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add salt. Add the stems, cooking for 20 seconds. Add the leaves and cook for 10 seconds more. (This helps remove some bitterness.) Drain into a colander.
  3. Add oil in preheated wok and stir-fry the garlic until slightly seared, about 1 minute. 
  4. Place Chinese broccoli into wok, add cooking wine and sesame oil. Stir-fry several seconds to mix well and serve immediately.


Loosely adapted from a recipe found on chinasichuanfood.com

Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy

Seven hours may seem like a long time to make dinner, but much of it is hands off, and it is soooo worth it! Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy might possibly be “the meal” that I would choose if it was going to be my last. Keep in mind, it needs to cook slowly so that the fat melts and the tough connective tissue softens. The original recipe came from Cook’s Country and it was a great starting point for this long, lazy Sunday afternoon braise.

After 6 hours in the oven, the pork has a nice crust and the mushrooms turn a rich brown.

To build a hearty gravy, start with chicken broth and add water. To maximize the mushroom flavor, toss the mushrooms directly into the roasting pan. This not only imbues the broth with deep, woodsy flavor but also allows the mushrooms to soften and caramelize. We even upped the quantity of the funghi by 20% to a full pound-and-a-half (noted in the list of ingredients).

Sometimes not even grocery stores label pork roasts properly. Were you ever confused between a pork shoulder and pork butt? These two cuts of pork are often mixed up. Both come from the shoulder of the pig, but pork butt is higher on the foreleg, while pork shoulder is farther down—confusing to start with, I know. As relatively tough and fatty cuts, both benefit from long, slow cooking methods such as roasting, stewing, and braising.

To begin with, we doubled the seasonings for the rub, wrapped the pork in plastic wrap, and let it get happy in the fridge overnight. Since we love a good gravy, we also increased by 50%, the amount of liquid (broth and water) that went into the roasting pan. Finally, because we did increase the liquid, we needed to balance the amount of flour to make a roux for the gravy. All of our changes are noted below.

To complete the meal, we made garlicky mashed potatoes—a great vehicle for that mushroom gravy—and a side of Roasted Glazed Parsnips and Carrots with Orange and Thyme, recipe also compliments of Cook’s Country.

Pork Roast with Mushroom Gravy

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast, fat trimmed to 1/8 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. dried sage
  • 1 Tbsp.. salt
  • 2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 24 oz. cremini or white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 cup  water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour


  1. PREP PORK Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels and rub all over with 2 teaspoon thyme, 2 teaspoon sage, salt, and pepper. Tie roast at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated overnight until ready to cook.
  2. ROAST PORK Arrange roast, fat side up, in roasting pan and cook until beginning to brown, about 3 hours. Add onion, mushrooms, broth, 1 cup water, bay leaf, remaining thyme, and remaining sage to pan and continue to roast until meat is well browned and skewer inserted in center meets no resistance, about 3 hours. Transfer roast to cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest 30 minutes.
  3. STRAIN JUICES Discard onion and bay leaf. Strain contents of roasting pan through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator; reserve mushrooms. Let liquid settle, then pour defatted pan juices (you should have about 2 cups) into measuring cup and add another 1/2 cup water to yield 2½ cups.
  4. MAKE GRAVY Transfer 4 tablespoons of fat from separator (we did not have enough fat so we added butter too) to large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Stir in flour and cook until golden, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in pan juices and bring to boil. Add reserved mushrooms and simmer over medium-low heat until gravy is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove twine from pork. Cut pork into 1-inch slices. Serve with gravy.


Adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Country