Few things are more enticing than the aromas of a big clay pot full of simmering fruity pork. All you need with it is a pot of steamed rice and a bottle of Riesling (well, maybe a vegetable side too). This dish requires very little work to assemble, but it needs about two hours of cooking time. If you don’t own a clay pot, you can use enameled cast iron or a Dutch oven.
- Yield: 8 generously
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 1 cup minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 pounds pork butt (also called pork shoulder), cut into 1-inch cubes
- Liberal dusting of kosher salt
- Liberal dusting of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Ume-Pickled Fennel juice (“Breakaway Flavor Blasts”) or umeshu (plum wine)
- 10 dried figs, roughly chopped
- ½ cup carrot juice
- Several tablespoons Ume-Pickled Fennel (“Breakaway Flavor Blasts”) for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large clay pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and ginger and cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the pork, salt, and pepper, stir, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Add the pickled fennel juice (or plum wine) and figs, bring to a boil, mix thoroughly, cover, and roast for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and, using a wooden spoon or a spatula, break apart the pork chunks a bit. Add the carrot juice and return to the oven for another 30 minutes.
- Taste and adjust the salt. Serve from the clay pot or transfer to warm individual plates and garnish with a mound of pickled fennel.