Chinese recipes
Red Braised Pork Shoulder
Pork shoulder (5 to 7 lb), with bone and rind
3/4 c Sherry (dry) or Shaoxing wine
1/3 c Dark soy sauce
Chinese yellow rock sugar, 6 crystals (each crystal about 1 inch square)
1 1/2 ts Salt (or to taste)
6 Star anise cloves
1 Cinnamon stick (about 2 inches long)
4 sm Chili peppers, dried (optional)
Tangerine peel, dried, 3 pieces (optional)
6 Garlic cloves (crushed)
4 sl Ginger (thick)
1 Scallion (whole), trimmed
2 Spinach bunches, washed

Put the pork in a large pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil, simmer for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse. Again add the pork to the pot with fresh water to cover, add the wine, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium, partially cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the spinach), and simmer the pork for another 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

The rind and the fat should be very soft when it's done. Remove the pork from the liquid and keep it warm. Strain the sauce into a large skillet and reduce it over high heat. This may take a while, depending on how much liquid you end up with.

Meanwhile, steam the spinach until just wilted, salt it lightly, and keep it warm. When the sauce is reduced (it should be the consistency of a thin syrup), put the pork shoulder in the center of a large platter, arrange the spinach around it, and pour the sauce over.

Notes: Can substitute about 1/3 C granulated sugar for the rock crystals.

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