Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lo Soi Braised Duck and Pork

Stocks over one hundred years old?  Lo Soi means "old water" or "master sauce."  Well there are rumors that these aged stocks are true, however, I do not think I will live long enough to celebrate the centennial with my stock, and I have a feeling that my descendants might throw it away.  So I will be utilizing it over my lifetime and enjoy the pleasures of a flavorful poaching liquid.   

The Chinese, especially the Cantonese cooks, have been storing and making master stocks for centuries.  The Vietnamese have taken this technique and now consider it a mainstay in daily cuisine.  While the broth can be used in soup, it is more traditional to use it while poaching meat or poultry.  Goi Ga (Vietnamese chicken salad) is enhanced when the chicken is cooked in this manner.  

I used the pork to make steamed buns (that recipe will be another blog down the road).  In addition to the pork, the steamed buns include cilantro and a carrot/daikon mix that was pickled in a little sugar with rice wine vinegar.  A shot of sriracha and hoisin sauce livens up the buns, also.  

We cut up the duck and ate it with some rice, herbs, and salad of carrots and cabbage.  

Lo Soi Braised Pork/Duck/Chicken 
2 pieces cinnamon
6 pieces star anise
10 cloves
2 cardamom pod
2 pieces ginger (about 1 inch long)
1 tbsp five spice
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 cups soy sauce
16 ounces palm sugar

1 ½ lb. pork shoulder or
1 whole duck or
1 whole chicken

In a dry pot, toast the spices until fragrant, then add the remaining ingredients and 7 quarts of water; bring to a boil for about 15-20 minutes allowing the flavors to infuse.  Add meat and bring to a boil.  30 minutes for the pork, and 35-40 minutes for the duck and chicken.  Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool down in the liquid for about 30 minutes.  Remove the meat and strain the liquid.  Chill the stock and put into the refrigerator.  To reuse- bring the stock up to a boil and skim.  Re-season with new spices and check salt and sugar content.    More water will need to be added also.  If you do not plan on using the stock within the following week or so, freeze it.  

Custom plates by Gerald Haessig

Since braising or poaching meat tends to be a more laid back type of cooking, my choices in music slightly changed.  I decided to grace my kitchen with the sounds of Pink Floyd.  Predictable you say?  Why yes it could be, but I went with a random selection including some Syd Barrett hits such as "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play."  Interspersed with some Waters/Gilmour tracks, I really started digging the bubbles coming up from the liquid and the mellow tunes of Animals and Wish You Were Here.  The mood was setting in, and I sipped a ca phe sua da only it was laced with some Grand Marnier.  What a great combination!  I turned the meat off, let it rest, kept the music going and took a nap.  When I awoke, it was ready to go!  Ahh, I love braising meat!

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