Thursday, January 29, 2015

Char Siu with Scallion Potato Waffles and Five Spice Apple Compound Butter

When offered the opportunity to adapt an exclusive recipe from Donna Currie’s new cookbook Make Ahead Bread, I wanted to honor Donna’s original, yet create something different enough to expand its versatility on a menu. The compound butter recipe appealed to me because I felt I could turn it into something that could work in a savory application as well as a sweet one. The warmth of Chinese five spice powder lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes, and is the cornerstone of many Chinese dishes. Pork and apples is a natural pairing, so what better dish to bridge this butter but Chinese Char Siu?

The idea of a fruity, melted butter also conjured up images of breakfast, so why not create a new breakfast pairing? Move over, Chicken and Waffles, here comes Char Siu and Waffles, with pork reclaiming its rightful place on the breakfast (or dinner) table! Donna’s Potato Pancake Waffles recipe is sheer genius, with a simple puree of potatoes, onions and egg. I added scallions to boost the Asian theme, but the possibilities for adapting this recipe are truly endless.

This recipe was fun to put together, but I invite you to try each element on its own, adding your own spin. Please check out Donna Currie’s cookbook, available now: Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, and her blog, Cookistry.

Char Siu with Scallion Potato Waffles and Five Spice Apple Compound Butter
by Gary
Adapted from Potato Pancake Waffles and Apple and Sage Compound Butter by Donna Currie
Serves 4-6

For the Compound Butter:

1 stick unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, divided use
1 Gala apple, peeled, cored, cut into small dice
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) cream cheese, at room temperature

For the Char Siu:

3 pounds country style pork ribs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 Tablespoons rice cooking wine
2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce
3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided use
2 Tablespoons honey or agave nectar, divided use
1 teaspoon sambal oelek
1 teaspoon five spice powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, run through a press

For the Waffles:

2 large (uncooked) Russet potato, peeled, cut into small chunks
1 medium onion, peeled, cut into small chunks
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt, more as needed
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1/3 cup chopped scallions

For the compound butter:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the apple and five spice powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are cooked through and soft, about 10 minutes. Remove apples from the pan, spread out in a shallow dish, and allow to cool completely.

Place the stick of butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until smooth (or use a hand-held mixer in a medium bowl). Add the cooled apples, white pepper, salt, and cream cheese. Blend until combined. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if desired. If the apples are too chunky, continue processing until it reaches desired consistency.

Form into a log, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Thirty minutes before serving, slice serving portions into 1/2” coins. Place on a plate and bring to room temperature.

For the char siu:

Place pork in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk together wine, sesame oil, soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 Tablespoon honey or agave nectar, sambal oelek, five spice powder, ginger, and garlic. Pour over pork. Turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare broiling pan by lining bottom with foil. Replace rack and spray with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining hoisin sauce and honey and set aside.

Place pork on rack of broiling pan. Baste with hoisin/honey mixture. Roast on center rack for 10 minutes. Turn on broiler to 425°F. Broil for 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Watch carefully to be sure pork does not burn. Turn down the heat to 375°F and continue to roast for 10 minutes more. Turn pork, broil at 425°F until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375°F and baste with hoisin/honey mixture. Repeat until surface of pork is evenly browned, and lightly glazed, about one hour total (whisk up more of the hoisin/honey mixture if needed.) Internal temperature of pork should be 140°F. Remove from oven and let rest.

To serve, slice pork in 1/2- to 1-inch pieces. Drizzle with any pan juices left in the pan. Keep warm while making waffles.

For the waffles:

In a blender, combine potato, onion, egg, salt, pepper, and flour. Blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thin (you're looking for pancake batter consistency) add more flour as needed. Stir in scallions.
Pour the batter into waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer’s directions until nicely browned.

To assemble:

Place waffles and sliced char siu on individual plates. Top with compound butter and serve immediately.

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