Adapted from Land of Plenty by Fuschia Dunlop.
The spicy and rich sauce can be spooned over rice or noodles and served with vegetables, roasted or braised. Daikon is the classic Sichuan pairing for red-braised meat, but root vegetables of any kind would be good, as would cauliflower or long-cooked greens.
For more on pork cheeks, see our recipe for pork cheeks braised in tomato wine sauce.
3 pounds pork cheeks
1- to 2-inch piece ginger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 tablespoons Sichuan-style chile bean paste
5 cups stock or water
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 Tsao Kor (cao guo or false cardamom), optional
Cilantro to garnish
A few tablespoons cooking oil, for browning
Salt and pepper for sprinkling
In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Dry pork cheeks and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add them to the pan in batches, taking care not to crowd the meat. Cook until the surface is browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, flipping only once or twice so as not to disturb browning. Remove with tongs to a plate and brown remaining cheeks, adding more oil if needed. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). Add chili bean paste to the Dutch oven and stir-fry until the paste starts to smell fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stock, wine, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and spices. Return pork cheeks to pan, stir to combine, and bring the mixture to a simmer
Cover pan and transfer to oven. Braise until cheeks are very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Allow meat to cool and settle in liquid (for best results cover and refrigerate overnight). Skim fat from surface and reheat gently. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with rice and vegetables.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 22g||29%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||25%|
|Total Carbohydrate 3g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 1g|
|Vitamin C 10mg||49%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|