|Clay Pot Caramel Pork|
By Chef Madeleine Dee
Caramel Pork is one of my favorite dishes. I add a few non-traditional ingredients to create a meal that sings with touches of how I like to cook. I find that coconut milk helps the caramel sauce work its magic and adds a smooth dimension of flavor. You could also throw in a little fresh coconut and simmer until tender with the pork. If you don't want to use any coconut milk, just substitute another cup of broth!
Madeleine Dee's Clay Pot Caramel Pork
1.5-2 lbs. cubed boneless baby back pork ribs (pork shoulder ok, too)
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 fresh bird's eye chilies, very thinly sliced
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 heaping tbsp. ground chili paste
Juice and zest of 1 large navel orange
8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk, shaken
2 cups beef broth (chicken ok, too)
1 cup loose palm sugar OR 1 cup granulated sugar
Peanut oil, for stir-frying
Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
Toasted cashews, for garnish
4-6 servings cooked Jasmine or brown rice
1. Warm a wok or heavy saute pan over medium heat. Pour in a little peanut oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add in your minced garlic. When the garlic starts to make noise and you can smell it, your oil is ready! Add in the shallots, ginger, green onions, and chilies. Stir-fry until softened and fragrant, then add in the orange juice and zest. Allow juice to reduce by half, stirring frequently.
2. When juice is reduced, raise the heat to high and add in the sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar melts and turns golden brown. Immediately and carefully stir in the coconut milk, beef broth, chili paste, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Mix well until incorporated and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
Just for reference, when done, your sauce should look like this:
3. Season the cubed pork with salt and pepper, then brown it on all sides in a traditional clay pot, dutch oven, or thick pot with a lid. When seared completely, add in the caramel sauce, stir to coat, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer until the pork is tender and the sauce is a beautiful deep brown, about 30-45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. When done, the pork will be very tender.
4. Spoon over warm rice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and toasted cashews.