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TIP OF THE DAY: Red Cooking For Chinese New Year

More than a billion Chinese people rang in the new year on February 10th (it’s the Year Of The Snake). This most important of Chinese holidays is celebrated for 15 days. So you’ve got plenty of time to whip up something special.

You might not think of Pork and Potato Stew as a Chinese dish—it sounds pretty European. But the recipe below is authentically Chinese, using the technique of red cooking—also called Chinese stewing, red stewing, red braising and flavor potting.

It can be made in a slow cooker (less to clean up!) and will likely become a popular dish at your table year-round.

Red cooking is a traditional, slow braising Chinese cooking technique. A homey stew is made with soy sauce, sherry, and stock, plus meat and vegetables. This satisfying comfort food brings warmth to a chilly evening.

 

Chinese comfort food: pork and potato stew. Photo courtesy PotatoGoodness.com.

 

The term “red cooking” describes how the old-fashioned, unfiltered soy sauce originally used in the recipe can take on a reddish cast when long-stewed. Modern, supermarket soy sauces rarely achieve this color, but it doesn’t change the tastiness of the dish. If you want to be authentic, pick up a bottle of heavy, old-style soy sauce at a Chinese grocer or online.

 

Chard is an under-appreciated vegetable in
the U.S. This recipe is a good excuse to try
it. Photo courtesy FreshDirect.com.

 

PORK & POTATO STEW

Makes 8 portions.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth*
  • 6 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce*
  • 1/4 cup minced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2-1/4 pounds boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch
    cubes
  • 2 pounds very small yellow-fleshed potatoes, halved
  • 9 medium scallions, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 3 star anise pods
  • Three 4-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds Swiss chard, mustard greens, or turnip greens, rinsed (but not dried) and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the broth, soy sauce, ginger, sherry, orange zest, and honey in a large pot and stir until the honey dissolves. Add the pork, potatoes, scallions, chiles, garlic, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.

    2. COVER, reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until the pork is meltingly tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, stir all these ingredients in a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low about 8 to 9 hours.) Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the greens and vinegar. Cover, reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted and tender, about 12 to 15 minutes. Cover and keep warm on the stove.

    4. SERVE: Discard the star anise pods and cinnamon sticks. Divide the greens among serving bowls, then ladle the stew over the greens.

    Per serving: calories 424, fat 10g, cholesterol 110mg, sodium 846mg, vitamin C 82mg, fiber 5g, protein 44g potassium 1239mg.

      




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