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    Szechuan Pork Hotpot

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    Szechuan Pork Hotpot

    A simple and comforting one-pot dish from the Chinese province of Szechuan. Pork and cabbage are an especially good combination. Spring greens or any tender cabbage heart can substitute for the pak choi.

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes
    • Cooking time: 120 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 25 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 25 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    • 1kg boned, rolled shoulder pork, skin removed
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp cracked szechuan or black pepper
    • 1 tsp five-spice powder
    • 2 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
    • 2 tbsp brown sugar
    • 6 tbsp hoisin sauce
    • 4 tbsp soy sauce
    • 6-8 shallots or small onions, peeled and halved lengthways
    • 3-4 large carrots, scraped and cut into chunks
    • 8 shiitake mushrooms (if dried, soak in boiling water to soften)
    • 2 small heads pak choi, rinsed, trimmed, quartered lengthways

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
    2. Heat a wok or large frying pan and fry the pork in the oil until it takes a little colour. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Add the ginger and garlic to the hot fat in the wok, fry for a moment, and then add the pepper, five-spice powder, vinegar, sugar, hoisin and soy sauces and bubble up with about 6 tbsp water. Tuck the shallots, carrots and mushrooms round the pork, pour in the hot sauce from the wok, cover the pot tightly and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1½-2 hours, until the meat is perfectly tender.
    3. Half an hour before the end of cooking, add the pak choi. It will cook in the steam contributing its juices to the meat. Salt lightly - the dish shouldn't need much. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing the meat, then serve with the vegetables and juices and some plain white rice.

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