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From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The long, slow braises of China and Mexico are great candidates for slow-cookers. Tonight's recipe for Asian-style pork is an example of a dish that lends itself really well to this type of cooking. Pork prepared in this manner is a study in simplicity. The dish comes together in about 10 minutes and it makes a wonderful meal for those who enjoy the in-your-face flavor that five-spice powder imparts to a dish. Five spice powder is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds that together represent the five flavors - sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, and salty - of Chinese cooking. The dish is impossible to spoil unless you overcook it. I suggest you cut the pork into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces and start to check it for doneness at the five hour mark. The beans, which are added to the dish just before it is served, are cooked until they are crisp-tender. They add some color and texture to a dish that would otherwise be one-note. I also slightly thicken this dish with a cornstarch slurry that is not called for in the original recipe. It is not necessary but it helps make a nice sauce for rice. Those of you who enjoy five-spice powder will enjoy this dish. Here is how this version of five-spice pork is made.
Slow-Cooker Five Spice Pork with Snap Peas...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Fine Cooking
1/2 cup Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, and cut into 1-inch pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound sugar snap peas (fresh or frozen), trimmed
1) In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the Shaoxing, soy sauce, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, and 1/2 cup water.
2) Lightly season the pork with pepper. Add the pork to the slow cooker and stir to coat. Cook, covered, until fork-tender, 4 to 5 hours on high or 6 to 7 hours on low.
3) Add the sugar snap peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Serve. Yield: 4 servings.
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