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Licorice Pork at the Palace


Licorice Pork at the Palace
2 pounds uncured belly pork
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions, trimmed and each tied in a knot
3 slices fresh ginger
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine
2 sticks cinnamon
2 one-inch pieces angelica
1 whole black cardamon
1 teaspoon whole fennel
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 slices licorice root
1 two-inch piece dried tangerine
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/4 cup rock sugar
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 red pepper, seeded and cut on an angle into one-inch pieces
2 teaspoons water chestnut powder
a few fresh green leaves such as spinach or a dark green lettuce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1. Cut belly pork into three or four pieces. Then blanch in boiling water for two minutes, and rinse in warm water; then drain.
2. Heat a wok, add the oil, then stir-fry the scallions and the ginger for one minute, then add the rice wine.
3. Tie into a one foot square piece of cheesecloth (or put into a spice bag), the cinnamon, angelica, cardamon, fennel, cloves, licorice root, and dried piece(s) of tangerine, and stir into the rice wine for one minute, then remove this and the pork to a four quart heavy-bottomed pot.
4. Add the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and the chicken broth. Add two cups of water, and bring this to just below the boiling point, reduce the heat, and simmer for two hours. At the end of that time, add red pepper and the water chestnut powder stirred with two tablespoons tepid water. Remove from heat, and after half an hour remove meat from the liquid and allow to cool before cutting it into one-quarter-inch slices. Discard the spice bag.
5. Put leaves on a platter, arrange meat slices on that, and the red pepper pieces on and around the meat. Heat half-cup of the cooled sauce mixed with the cornstarch, and stir until it thickens, then spoon over the meat and serve.

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