Star Anise Pork
- SERVINGS: 6
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)
- 1/2 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 whole star anise pods, crushed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- One 3-pound boneless pork shoulder, tied, or 6 pork loin chops, cut 1 1/4 inches thick (3/4 pound each)
- To make star anise pork chops In a small bowl, mix the stock with the sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar, star anise, garlic and five-spice powder.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Add the pork and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 15 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the casserole. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for about 3 hours, turning the roast every 30 minutes, until very tender. Remove the pork and boil the sauce until it is reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Discard the strings. Pull the pork into long shreds and return to the casserole. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.
- Pour the sauce mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chops and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or for up to 8 hours. Drain the chops, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the pork chops and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve the pork chops.
Opt for a Gerwürztraminer. Its natural richness and unctuous texture stands up to the spices in Asian dishes, while its low alcohol and sweet fruits help to balance powerful flavors. Look for one from Alsace or Washington state.