Chinese-Style Pulled Pork with Kale

Pulled pork sandwiches are a lunchbox or dinnertime hit. We love adding cooked greens to our pulled pork to add in extra flavour and vitamins, and kale, Brassica greens, tatsoi, and mustard greens make great additions. Try these sandwiches in your lunchbox this week!

Chinese-Style Pulled Pork Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2.5 pounds pork shoulder

  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced thin

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 3 slices of peeled ginger, roughly 2 inches long

  • 1 piece star anise (can easily be left out if you don't like star anise or can't find it at the grocery store)

  • 1/4 cup dried mushrooms (shitake, oyester, or whichever type you are able to find)

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

  • 1/3 cup white wine

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Kale & Apple Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)

  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 bunch kale or other greens, stemmed and cut into extremely thin strips (about 4 loosely packed cups in total)

  • 1 small green apple, cored and grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 1/2 cup total)

  • 1 medium carrot, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 1/2 cup total)

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 package hamburger buns

  • If you'd like an extra-spicy, vinegary kick to your sandwich, slice 1-3 hot peppers and set them in a cup of rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) before starting to cook the pork. Spoon some of this vinegar onto your meat when assembling your sandwich.


For the pulled pork:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot, then brown the surfaces of the pork shoulder over medium heat. Once the pork is browned, remove it to a plate.

  2. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the hot pan and cook, stirring occasionally to pull up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the onions begin to soften (about 5-8 minutes), then add in the star anise and mushrooms and stir for another minute.

  • Place the pork shoulder back into the pan. Add the soy sauce, wine, vinegar, water, and sesame oil, and stir to distribute. Add in additional water or chicken stock as necessary to bring the liquid level to about halfway up the side of the pork (it's fine if there's a bit more than that). Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle-to-moderate simmer and cover the pot.

  • Braise the pork until very tenderl; about 2 hours.

For the Kale & Apple Slaw:

  • In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, olive and sesame oils, and pepper to make a thick dressing. Toss in the kale, apple, and carrots, and mix continuously for a couple of minutes to coat the kale very well. We suggest making this an hour or two before serving, and storing it in the refrigerator while you are waiting on the pork.

  • When the pork is fork-tender (easily torn apart with a fork), remove it from the pan and onto a large plate. Remove any unwanted hunks of fat or grisle, then shred the meat with two forks. Skim the fat from the pan and discard. Also discard the star anise pod. Reduce the remaining sauce over medium-low heat to about 1/2 cup (if there is more than that left at this point).

To assemble the sandwiches:

  • Place a heaping mound of shredded pork on the bottom half of each bun. Drizzle a tablepoon or two of reduced sauce (and the vinegar your hot peppers were soaking in, if you decided to do this) onto the meat. Top with a generous mound of the kale slaw. Top with the other half of the bun, and serve.​

Recipe adapted from Food 52.

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