Today’s post is really just a culinary experiment of sorts… A few years back, I tried using pork hocks to see if I could produce the same sort of crackling, or crispy skin, that I really enjoy on a nice, good quality pork roast. The reason I tried pork hocks was because then, as now, they are the only cut that come with the skin attached on any regular basis up here in the far north. Unfortunately, the results were not that great.
Since that time, however, the techniques I featured in my posts on Perfect Roast Pork Crackling and Roast Pork with Crackling II proved very successful and so I thought I would try the hocks again. For this experiment, I am going to use the Asian method I discussed in the second post. I won’t repeat the instructions in their entirety (as you can read them in the original post) but if you read on, I will show you the way I adapted the approach to this somewhat different cut… Continue reading “Crispy Roast Pork Hock”
This experiment will be the first use of the Chinese ‘Master Sauce’ I posted about a short while ago. I have very much wanted to reproduce the ‘Pig Trotter’ I featured in a ‘Notable Noshings’ article back in December but, since pig’s feet are not generally available in these parts, I have substituted the much more common hocks. As I mentioned in the ‘Pig’s Trotter’ post, the featured dish that I enjoyed at the Harmony Restaurant in Ottawa is a good example of the Chinese culinary technique known as ‘red-cooking’ in which foodstuffs are slowly braised in a soy-sauce based medium (hence giving the requisite ‘red’ color). As the master sauce I prepared essentially fits this criteria, I thought it would be perfect for today’s experiment… Continue reading “Master Sauce Cookery Part 2: Red-cooked Pork Hocks”
A plain tomato sauce can contain little more than tomatoes with some simple seasonings but other, more complex, varieties will include garlic, onions and other vegetables somewhere in the cooking process. Likewise, a truly rich tomato sauce, particularly those destined to be a ‘Sunday gravy’ will frequently be ‘beefed up’ (if you will pardon the expression) with stocks based on chicken or other meats.
For my experimental project to create a Sunday gravy that can be built upon and enhanced over the long term (please see yesterday’s Introductory Post), I am going to first make a rich meat stock using beef and pork hocks so that the collagen and other proteins released by the skin and bone will work with the meaty flavors to give a good, hearty body to our final sauce… Continue reading “The Sunday Gravy Experiment Part 2- The Stock”
Few North Americans would associate smoked meats with China but, in fact, the smoking of various foodstuffs is not at all uncommon. Tea-smoked duck is a well-known favorite in Sichuan cuisine and Jinhua-ham from Zhejiang Province is used in a variety of preparations across the country. Other foodstuffs, like shrimp, tofu, and chicken are often also smoked in various ways before being used as ingredients in more complex dishes.
Hunan Province is also reputed to produce smoked pork products that rival the best equivalents in the west like Prosciutto, Smithfield, and Westphalian Ham. I can’t recall actually ever coming across anything identified as being Hunan smoked ham in any stores I have visited but I did once buy something identified as ‘Chinese Ham’ which could, I suppose, have been Hunanese in origin. Continue reading “Experiment: Hunan-style Smoked Ham Hock”