Some say soups and stews are only cold weather recipes, but I disagree.
Ha Moua’s Likok Pork Stew
- 5–6 pounds pork shoulder or one rack babyback ribs, cut along the bones
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice or ground star anise
- 2–3 tablespoons neutral oil like grapeseed, canola, or vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3–4 stalks lemongrass finely chopped
- 1 knob ginger thumb-size, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 8 –10 likok or large bunch of bok choy
- Season pork with salt, pepper, and Chinese five spice powder. Heat neutral oil in Dutch oven until shimmering. Brown meat on all sides; remove.
- Over medium heat, sauté chopped onion, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. When these are browned but not burned, add chicken stock and a litt le extra water (maybe ½ cup; I usually just swish some in the chicken stock container). Return pork to pan. Set to medium-low, cook for about 90 minutes (or do all this in your Instapot and set for about 25 minutes).
- Once pork is tender but not falling apart, remove from pot; strain veggies and aromatics from the broth. (I like to have a relatively clear broth; however, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass can all stay if you want to skip this step.) If using likok, sauté in pan for 5 minutes, then return to pan with broth and pork; cook for 20 minutes more. (If using bok choy, add broth and pork back to pot, cook 15 more minutes and then add bok choy with your cornstarch slurry about 5 minutes before serving.)
- Remove from heat and stir somewhat vigorously until meat has started to separate and likok begins to break down and thicken the broth.
- Serve topped with diced scallions, a dash of hot pepper vinegar and, if you’ve got ‘em, crispy fried onions from the pantry.
Stephen David Caldes is a writer, home cook, and assistant professor in the Journalism and Public Relations Department at CSU, Chico. He has many hobbies, but eating with friends is his favorite.