Monday, May 2, 2016

Twice Cooked Pork with Preserved Vegetables

The Instant Pot offers so many options for the home cook: It can pressure cook, slow cook, saute, steam, make yogurt, cook soup, rice, and multigrain dishes. I decided to try several of the cooking modes in one recipe, and this favorite Chinese dish fit the bill. I used it to initially pressure cook the pork, saute the pork, then steam the final dish. Such versatility!

Though this dish has many steps, the final product is worth the effort. The pork is rendered meltingly tender after the multi-stage cooking, and the flavorful sauce, packed with umami from two soy sauces and the salted, preserved vegetables, is truly addictive.

Twice Cooked Pork with Preserved Vegetables
by Gary Gee

Adapted from Mei Cai Kou Rou from The Woks of Life

6 ounces dried preserved mustard greens
2 pounds pork belly or boneless picnic with fat cap
4 1-inch pieces ginger, peeled
2 star anise
1 Tablespoon coarse salt
2 Tablespoons peanut oil, divided use
1 teaspoon PLUS 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce, divided use
2 Tablespoons cane sugar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 Tablespoons light soy sauce

2 Tablespoons shaoxing wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

Soak dried greens in a large bowl. Stir occasionally to loosen any grit. Lift greens out of water and place in colander in sink. Rinse briefly. Pour off soaking liquid, rinse out bowl, replace with clean water, and soak greens again. Repeat four to five times, letting soak 20-30 minutes between rinsings. When no more grit is found at the bottom of the bowl, drain greens well, pressing to extract as much water as possible. Set aside.

Place pork in Instant Pot liner with ginger, star anise, and salt. Add enough water to just cover pork. Lock lid in place, and set cooker on HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Release naturally. Remove pork, drain, and blot dry with paper towels. Discard cooking liquid and solids. Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit.

Set cooker to Saute, and when hot, add one Tablespoon oil. Brown pork on all sides, taking care not to disturb the meat too soon and tear the surface. When brown, add one teaspoon dark soy sauce and one Tablespoon water, coating the pork with the liquid. Remove pork to a shallow dish, and pour pan liquid over all. Set pork aside to cool (may be refrigerated at this point overnight). Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit.

Slice pork into thin slices against the grain. Arrange pork, shingled, in a shallow pan that fits well in the Instant Pot liner on a trivet.

Heat cooker to Saute, and add remaining Tablespoon oil. Add sugar, stir and cook until slightly caramelized. Add ginger, stir to combine. Add 1 Tablespoon dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, shaoxing wine, and chicken broth. Add preserved greens, stir to mix well, then press Cancel to stop cooking. Spoon preserved green mixture over pork. Clean out the liner, wipe dry, and return to the unit. (This could be a good reason to own more than one liner!)

Add one cup of water to liner. Place trivet in liner. Set dish of pork on trivet. Set cooker to Steam for 45 minutes. Release naturally. Carefully remove dish from liner. Remove trivet and pour off water. Heat cooker once more to Saute, and carefully tip accumulated liquid from dish of pork into liner. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water. Add to simmering liquid, and stir until thickened. Carefully flip pork and vegetables out onto serving platter (you may spoon vegetables off of pork first, then lift pork with a spatula and turn over on top of vegetables. Check sauce for seasoning, and spoon over pork. Serve at once with steamed rice and a fresh vegetable.

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