Nancy Vogel's Incredibly Delicious
Braised Pork

© Nancy Vogel
adapted from Ken Hom's excellent recipe

This is an amazing recipe! Be sure to cultivate a good butcher, so you can be certain the animal was slaughtered humanely before you eat it. It serves eight.

Fresh ham, about 5 pounds
      (pork shoulder with bone may be used)
8 green onions
3 tbs. peanut oil
8 slices fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

5 c. hot water
1 c. dark soy sauce
1 c. rice wine or dry sherry
3 tbs. whole roasted Szechwan peppercorns
6 tbs. sugar
4 stars of star anise
2 cinnamon sticks or bark
2 tsp. five-spice powder
1 tsp. salt

Star anise is a spice often used in Asian cooking. They can also be found in Latino grocery stores.

Dry the ham thoroughly with paper towels. Cut the green onions into three-inch segments. Choose a heavy casserole pot, large enough to hold the ham comfortably. Heat the pot and then add the oil, ginger, garlic, and green onions, and stir-fry in the pot for two minutes. Push the aromatics to the side and brown the ham on each side until it has some color, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour off oil.

Add all the braising liquid ingredients to the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover tightly. It will take about two hours for the ham to cook; turn it from time to time, roughly every 30 minutes. When the ham is tender, remove it gently with a large spatula. The meat should be literally falling apart. Place it on a serving platter.

Strain the sauce, skim off any surface fat, and reduce the liquid until it is slightly thick. Pour this over the ham and serve. Serves eight.