Chinese Braised Pork & Cabbage

I realized the other day that I rarely eat Chinese food anymore. After eighteen years of eating it nearly every single day, except the days my mom made pesto pasta, I went to college where the closest thing to Chinese food was this terrible dish that tasted too sweet and too bland. The dining hall did a lot of things right, but Chinese food was not one of them. In college I ate a lot more cereal, bread, pasta, salad, soup, and pizza. At one point, during one particularly cold New Haven winter, I became obsessed with oatmeal. Some days I had it at every meal; it was hearty, warm, and comforting. (My favorite oatmeal recipe that I discovered and that I still love today, is oatmeal with peanut butter, cinnamon, and honey).

This past Sunday I was nursing a hangover, exhausted, and not looking forward to the Monday after a long weekend. All I wanted was to fly my dad to New York so he could make me one of his favorite dishes: braised pork chops with onions. He also usually boils a few eggs and cooks them in with the braising liquid (mostly soy sauce and chicken stock) so that when you eat them you can soak up the juice with the yolk.

I had this lonely cabbage lying around from my last CSA pickup so I incorporated it into the dish. The flavors of the cabbage, caramelized onion, and five spice pork went together really well. I was so happy about the way it turned out; I ate so much for a late lunch that I didn’t want dinner later!

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This recipe makes four servings.

You’ll need a pound and change of boneless pork chops, some five spice powder, low sodium soy sauce, a large yellow onion (sliced), chicken stock, one small head of cabbage, and one tablespoon of honey. Marinate the pork chops in 1 tsp five spice powder, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. While they’re marinating, lightly caramelize the sliced onions in a dutch oven or large saucepan. Once the onions have developed some color, transfer them to a plate or bowl while you brown the pork chops on each side. Deglaze with some chicken stock and water to cover and add back the onions. Add in the diced cabbage and two tablespoons of the soy sauce. If you need to add more liquid, add some more water as even low sodium soy sauce can be quite salty. Soy sauce  can also be kind of sour, so add in the honey. Stir and cover. Let it cook on medium-low heat for about an hour. Serve with rice or noodles.

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