leave your inhibitions at the door
Now that the days are shorter and the air outside is brisk, thoughts often go to soups and stews. Nothing warms the body and soul on a harsh winter night like a hearty…
Wait, it’s June?
I’ve had this post half-written for quite a while and finally got around to finishing it. Sure it’s a hearty soup, but it’s so damn good I’d eat it when it’s 95 degrees with 100% humidity. This recipe is from Stephanie Izard’s Girl in the Kitchen cookbook. Izard was the first female to win Top Chef and owns Girl & the Goat and Little Goat Diner, two of my favorites restaurants in Chicago. It’s based on the Thai soup tom kha gai, but it’s addition of peanut butter brings to mind Kare Kare, my favorite Filipino stew.
The recipe calls for 2.5 pounds of bone-in pork shoulder but I used a big hunk of pork cushion I got at Sparrow Market. The cushion was boneless, so I ended up with way too much pork for the recipe.
Hold on… did I just say, “way too much pork?” Sorry, temporary insanity.
Braised Pork and Coconut Soup
– 2.5 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– coarse salt
– 3 Tablespoons olive oil
– 2 medium onions, finely diced
– 2 ¼ cups dry red wine
– 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
– 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
– 1 quart chicken broth
– 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 2 teaspoons fish sauce
– 1 Tablespoon fennel seeds
– 2 teaspoons aji chile paste – good luck finding that. Sambal paste works
– ¾ cup canned coconut milk
– black pepper
– 1 small lime
– 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
– ½ cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1. Rub the pork with brown sugar, one third of the garlic, and 1 tsp salt. Place in a glass bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight
2. Preheat oven to 350
3. Heat 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Brown pork on all sides. Remove and set aside.
4. Add 1 Tablespoon more oil and lower heat to medium. Add half of the onions and another third of the garlic. Sweat by cooking until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Pour in 2 cups of the wine, increase the heat to a simmer, and reduce the liquid by half.
5. Reserve 1 cup of the tomatoes and add the rest to the pot. Stir in the peanut butter. Add broth, vinegar, mustard, fish sauce, fennel seeds, and chili paste. Bring to a boil, add pork back, cover and put in oven.
Braise until the meat is very tender 3-3.5 hours.
6. Remove the pork and let it cool on the side. Strain the liquid and skim off fat. Pull the meat apart into bite-size pieces.
You don’t know how tempted I was to just stop right here…
7. Heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Add the remaining onions and garlic and sweat until translucent – 5 minutes, Add remaining ¼ cup wine, increase to medium-high heat and reduce by half. Add the 1 cup reserved tomatoes and the soup liquid. Simmer to reduce by one third, about 15 minutes.
8. Stir in the meat and coconut milk. Simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, squeeze some line juice into it and top with peanuts and cilantro.
In case you were curious, I that extra pork made great sandwiches.
^ That’s a lie. I may or may not have just eaten the extra pork with my bare hands.