Author Notes: I've been experiencing some serious nostalgia for Chengdu (my study abroad location in college) the past few weeks. First, it was our trip to the new Chicago gem, Fat Rice. I was transported back to China. I had to know how the chef created such authentic feeling and flavor. So, on a trip to the restroom I found the chef and quizzed him. Turns out, he studied cuisine in Chengdu! I was thrilled, and so felt reminiscent of the feeling of being back in China.
Next, it was the amazing article I found on Saveur.com. After perusing a few Szechuan recipes, I stumbled upon the article, Capital of Heat, by Matt Gross. He delves into the bold and spicy food culture of Chengdu, capital of the Szechuan Province. Much to my delight, he provided recipes and ingredient lists to bring those flavors to life. Check it out yourself if you want to stock up on ingredients. - Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast
Makes 3-4 servings
- 3 pounds pork neck bones
- 1 large bunch Chinese broccoli
- 7 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons Chinese red chile bean paste
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil + 1 tbsp
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt + 1 tbsp
- 1 cup uncooked rice (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork necks, 1 tbsp salt, garlic, ginger, chili bean paste, sugar, dark soy sauce, black vinegar, red chili oil and 1tbsp sesame oil. Let marinade for 1 hour in the fridge.
- Transfer all contents into a large Dutch oven, cover and braise in oven for 2 hours. Turn pork necks over half way through. Remove necks to a cutting board, and transfer braising liquid to a hot wok or large saute pan.
- Trim Chinese broccoli and cut into 3 inch pieces. Add to wok with a small dash of salt.
- Remove all meat from pork necks, in small pieces. There won't be huge pieces of meat, but just bits of delicious, tender meat. Be careful, because there are lots of bones in the neck. Transfer all meat to wok, and let saute for 5 minutes, until broccoli is wilted. Serve with rice, or by itself.
- P.S. Do not throw the bones away. I have them in my freezer right now so I can make a stock!
- Optional - Service over white rice, or serve alone!