I guess maybe you are sensing a theme here. Asian influenced spiced chicken salad last entry, now something a bit more near and dear to my
heart stomach: Vietnamese food. I am really just learning how to make some of these dishes and use the flavors and spices, so I know this will require some trial and error. This meal is no different. I wanted to use lemongrass in the sauce, but, to my dismay, tried to find fresh lemongrass at 5 stores and failed.
So, instead of a lemongrass pork shoulder, I topped the pork, which I first dry rubbed, with a ginger caramel sauce. This meal requires a few steps to be done a night ahead of time, so I will start with those steps, and then what you do on meal day.
Pork Dry Rub (inspired by Sunday Night Dinner)
3-6 pound boneless pork shoulder — I used a smaller piece, only 2 pounds, so reduce amount by half if you use a smaller piece
2 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons course kosher salt
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Remove any large pieces of fat from pork. Mix ingredients in small bowl. Rub pork with rub evenly and then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Pickled Daikon an Carrots (from Viet World Kitchen)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 pound daikons, each no larger than 2 inches in diameter, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups rice vinegar
1 cup lukewarm water
Put carrots and daikon in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt and 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Knead vegetables for about 3 or 4 minutes. You will remove about 1/4 of their liquid. To test, bend a piece of daikon so that the ends touch but doesn’t break. Drain in a colander with cold water, knead quickly to remove water and place back in bowl or jar for storage.
For brine, combine 1/2 cup sugar, vinegar and water and stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over vegetables, ensuring that it covers the vegetables. Marinate for at least one hour, but for better results, brine overnight. They will last about 4 weeks in a tight jar.
Ginger Caramel Sauce
3 tablespoons cooking oil (not olive)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, minced
6 tablespoons caramel sauce (recipe follows)
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 Thai chili peppers or Serrano pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
Preheat oven to 250. Place pork onto rack of roasting pan and bake for about an 70-80 minutes per pound. Roast until inner temperature of 195 degrees.
Every hour or so, baste the pork and flip and baste again with basting liquid (recipe follows).
While Pork is cooking, you can cook your caramel sauce to use for your ginger-caramel sauce. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic, onions, stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in caramel sauce (recipe follows), fish sauce, chili peppers, and black pepper. Gently simmer for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, return to a simmer for 3 minutes and then set aside.
When pork is finished cooking, wrap in tin foil and let rest about 30 minutes. Slice, or shred pork and serve over rice, top with ginger-caramel sauce and pickled daikon and carrots.
Because the Viet World Kitchen does it better, here is a link to her instructions for caramel sauce. That recipe will make more than 6 tablespoons, so you can save some, or reduce the recipe. Caramel Sauce Recipe found here.
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3/4 chicken stock
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
In a saucepan, heat chicken stock, vinegar, brown sugar, fish sauce, five spice, pepper and cayenne over medium high heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken, use to baste pork every hour