This sophisticated version of chow mein has been reinvented as a spicy noodle salad. The flavors are best when the dish is served at room temperature, making it an ideal candidate for a picnic. Complete the menu with sliced cucumbers tossed with a dressing of rice vinegar, Asian sesame oil and sugar, and accompany with ice-cold Japanese beer.
Asian-Style Pork with Noodles
For the vinaigrette:
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/8 tsp. sugar
2 or 3 drops Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
2 1⁄2 lb. (1.25 kg) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of most fat and cut crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1⁄4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sake, beer or dry white wine
1⁄2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) chicken stock
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 lb. (500 g) fresh Chinese egg noodles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 small red serrano chile, seeded and minced (optional)
1⁄4 cup (1⁄3 oz./10 g) each chopped fresh cilantro and fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
To make the vinaigrette in a blender or mini food processor, combine the olive oil, soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar, ginger, sugar, Tabasco to taste and salt and process for 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. When the oil is hot, working in batches to avoid crowding, add the pork and sear, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Pour off most of the fat from the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the sake and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Stir in the stock and transfer the contents of the pan to a slow cooker. Add the carrots and place the pork and any accumulated juices on top. Cover and cook on the low setting for 5 hours. The meat should be very tender.
Transfer the pork to a platter and let rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, using a large spoon, skim off as much fat from the braising liquid as possible. Shred the pork with 2 forks, then return it to the braising liquid.
Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles, stir and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Add the bell pepper, chile, the vinaigrette to taste, half each of the cilantro and parsley, about two-thirds of the shredded pork and a generous amount of the braising liquid. Toss to mix well.
Transfer to a platter and arrange the remaining pork, cilantro, and parsley over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Find more fresh and satisfying recipes for your slow cooker in our The New Slow Cooker, by Brigit Binns.