Former Food section recipe editor Stephanie Witt Sedgwick can't get enough ginger. And toasted sesame oil -- deep, dark and nutty -- is one of her favorite flavors. So this recipe she devised is a fusion dish that combines a classic meat-and-vegetables stew with Asian flavors. It's Asian lite, but in a good way. And it can be made ahead of time: a happy marriage of flavor and methodology. The total cooking time is 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve this over white rice.
- 5 to 6 tablespoons mild olive or vegetable oil
- 4 pounds boneless country-style pork chops, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
- 16 scallions, tough green tops removed, sliced thinly crosswise, 1/4 cup reserved for garnish
- 1 3-inch piece ginger root, finely grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
- 1/4 cup light or low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed
- 1 pound carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds
- 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch cubes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sherry, vermouth, low-sodium chicken broth or water
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Add enough olive or vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add enough of the pork cubes to fill the pan without crowding. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes to brown the pieces of meat, turning at least once, and then transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining pork, adding oil as needed, until all the cubes are browned.
While the meat is browning, start the base of the stew: In a large pot (5 quarts or larger) over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive or vegetable oil. Add the scallions, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the ginger root and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the sesame oil, five-spice powder, soy sauce and chicken stock; stir to combine.
Use a vegetable peeler to remove three or four 4-inch pieces of orange peel (no white pith), and add them to the pot. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze their juice into the pot, discarding what's left of the fruit. Add the browned pork cubes and combine.
With the skillet you used to brown the meat, increase the heat to high and add 1/2 cup water. Use a spatula to scrape the browned bits off the bottom and sides of the skillet. Add this mixture to the stew.
Increase the pot heat to medium-high, if necessary, and bring the stew just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low so the stew bubbles gently. If its liquid does not fully cover the meat, add water as needed.
After 1 hour, remove the orange peel from the stew and discard. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are tender.
At this point, you can remove the pot from the heat, cool the stew in an ice bath (while still in the pot), transfer to a storage container, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days before serving.
When ready to serve, remove any fat that has solidified on top of the stew and heat the stew over medium heat until the liquid is just about to boil.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with sherry or the liquid of your choice and mix well. Add half of this slurry to the stew and let the broth come a boil, increasing the heat to medium-high if necessary. If the stew seems thin, add the rest of the cornstarch slurry and stir to combine until the stew has thickened. Serve family style in a large bowl. Garnish with the reserved 1/4 cup scallions and the toasted sesame seeds. Serve with rice passed separately at the table.
Adapted from former Food section recipe editor Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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