There is a winter tradition in my hometown that every family is going to make cured pork and pork sausages. It is such a big deal that the all family members are recruited to help around. From planning, ingredients shopping, chopping, dicing, mixing to stuffing, it is a traditional family activity and celebration.
Although every family has its own secret ingredients when making cured pork, they all taste very good. The pork develop deeper and richer pork flavor after marinating and curing over time. If you have no idea what they taste like, just imagine the Spanish prosciutto with a touch of rice wine.
Most people don’t do that from scratch any more. Whenever they crave for cured pork or pork sausage, all they need to do is to make a quick trip to nearest market where you can find all the ingredients and people to make them at a very affordable price.
Michigan has long cold winter, and it is perfect for making cured pork.
I love to make cured pork with pork belly.
You should be able to find cured pork in almost any Asian grocery store.
1 cup medium grain rice
water needed to cook the rice according to the instructions on rice package
1 piece of cured pork belly (weighs between 1/2 to 1 pound)
4 to 6 fresh shitake mushrooms (you can use the rehydrated dry shitake mushrooms when the fresh ones are not available)
4 to 6 baby bok choy (I don’t have any left in refrigerator, so I use spinach instead)
For the sauce：
The most authentic ones are cooked in Chinese clay pots. I broke mine years ago. So I use cast iron pot to cook it. The result is fantastic too!
In a 3 quart Le Creusetcast iron Dutch oven, add rice and water. Heat over high heat until it boils.
Rinse the cured pork belly under running cold water. Pat dry with paper towel. With a sharp knife, slice it.
Clean the shitake mushroom under running water or with a damp paper towel. Cut each mushroom into 4 to 5 pieces.
When water in cast iron pot start to reduce and you can see holes appearing on top, add sliced cured pork and shitake mushrooms.
Cover it up and reduce the heat to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat but don’t rush to life the lid. Allow it to rest for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, rinse and drain well the baby bok choy. Blanch in boiling water for 5 to 10 seconds and then immerse in icy cold water for 10 seconds. Drain well.
The rice is ready
The cured pork belly is semi transparent. The rice absorbs the rich meaty nutty flavor from pork and shitake mushrooms.
Add baby bok choy/ spinach.
Mix with a wooden spoon.