Braised Cucumbers with Pork and Ginger
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4 to 6
These Cantonese-style stuffed cucumbers make excellent finger food. You bake the cukes in large pieces, then slice them just before serving.
- Four 12- to 14-ounce European seedless cucumbers, ends trimmed
- 1/4 head of Napa cabbage (10 ounces), cored and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives or scallions, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Chinese chili paste or Sriracha
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the cucumbers crosswise in thirds. Using an apple corer or a small spoon, hollow out the seedy centers.
- In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Spread the cabbage in a steamer basket and set it over the saucepan. Cover the cabbage and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Let the cabbage cool slightly, then pat dry and finely chop.
- In a medium bowl, blend the cabbage with the pork, chives, ginger, garlic, cilantro, soy sauce, chili paste, sesame oil and cornstarch. Spoon the filling into the cucumbers and stand them in a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. Pour it over the cucumbers. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the cucumbers for about 40 minutes, or until they are tender and the pork is cooked through. Let the cucumbers cool in the stock for about 20 minutes. Slice the cucumbers on the diagonal and transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with chives and serve.
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