Wuxi Pork with Wine

Here’s a pork belly recipe from Susur Lee that appeared in Gourmet. Susur recently appeared on Top Chef Masters and is kind of a manic, crazy fabulous chef. I’ve tried one of his places in Toronto, whihc was really good. Good bold flavors.

Total Time: 4 Hours
Active Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 servings


1 (2-lb) piece fresh pork belly (unsmoked bacon) with skin and bones
2 (32-oz) bottles club soda
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves
3 (1- by 1/4-inch) slices fresh ginger, smashed with flat side of a heavy knife
3 scallions, trimmed and smashed
2 cups Chinese white rice wine, Chinese white rice cooking wine, or Japanese sake*
3 whole star anise
2 whole cloves
1 (2- by 2-inch) piece dried tangerine peel*
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Chinese sweet red rice wine, Chinese sweet red rice cooking wine, or medium-dry Sherry*
2 to 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce (also known as superior)*
1 tablespoon cornstarch


Cook pork
Bring pork belly and club soda to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Transfer pork to a cutting board and discard liquid.

When pork is cool enough to handle, cut into 1-inch (bone-in) pieces with a cleaver. Transfer to heatproof bowl.

Heat oil in a wok or medium skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic, ginger, and scallions until browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl with pork and add white rice wine, star anise, cloves, tangerine peel, 3 tablespoons red rice wine, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. (If using regular rice wine instead of cooking wine, use 3 tablespoons soy sauce.)

Heat 2 to 3 inches of water in bottom of steamer pot until simmering, then put bowl with pork mixture onto steamer rack. Cover pot and steam until pork is very tender and falling off bones, about 3 hours. Replenish steamer pot by adding boiling water every hour as necessary.

Remove bowl from steamer and pour juices through a fine sieve lined with dampened paper towels into a 1-quart saucepan. Discard bones, garlic, ginger, scallions, star anise, tangerine peel, and cloves. Set pork aside and keep warm, covered. (The turned-off steamer is a good place, as it stays hot for a while.)

Make wine sauce
Skim fat from juices, then boil over moderately high heat until reduced to about 1 cup, 15 to 20 minutes. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup red rice wine in a small bowl until smooth, then whisk into boiling juices. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking frequently, until sauce is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

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