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December 3, 2014 Comments (0) Camp Kitchen

Chinese Pot Roast

And I’m back with another episode of Camping Pressure Cooker Love! In a previous episode, you observed my method of Camping Boeuf Bourguignon and I return today with my take on a Chinese classic, Northern Chinese-Style Pot Roast. First off, I owe a debt of gratitude from many tasty meals to my wonderful mother-in-law who gave me her recipe for this long ago. I have adapted it for the camping pressure cooker using the GSI anodized aluminum pressure cooker.

I owe a debt of gratitude from many tasty meals to my wonderful mother-in-law who gave me her recipe for this long ago. I have adapted it for the camping pressure cooker using the GSI anodized aluminum pressure cooker.

A couple of words on the cut of meat used here. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood with a fantastic Asian grocery store that sells the traditional shin cut. This cut (see photo) is basically the whole deboned muscle from the lower leg and weighs about 2-3 pounds. It is lean, but contains a lot of connective tissue, which lends itself wonderfully to the unctuousness of the dish. In fact, if you were to eat this traditionally, which is chilled, you would see the sauce is like a jelly due to the high gelatin content. If you cannot find this “whole” shin/shank at your butcher counter, you can use a cross-cut shank (as is used in oxtail soup and Osso Bucco) and it works wonderfully. Ask your butcher also, as they may be able to cut it for you.

Also, the marinated tofu may be tricky for you to find if you don’t have a well-stocked grocery store. Look for a very dark brown marinade. If you can’t find it, feel free to leave it out.

Let’s begin.

Northern Chinese-Style Pot Roast
Yield: about 4 servings with rice/congee/noodles

2-3 lbs. “whole” beef shin/shank, patted dry
2-3 Tbs. vegetable or coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
1 inch peeled, roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2-3 canned anchovies filets (for umami! Don’t worry; they won’t add a fishy flavor, I promise)
½ cup soy sauce
¾ cup red wine (not traditional, but I like the flavor, feel free to substitute rice wine if you like)
4-5 whole star anise, do not use ground
4-5 whole black peppercorns
4 hard-boiled eggs
1 package marinated baked tofu

Heat the pressure cooker on medium-high heat, add the oil and let it get a little shimmery.
Gently, to prevent splattering, lower the shin meat into the hot oil, watch your fingers! Note: do not cut up the shin. Not only does the connective tissue make this difficult, it is unnecessary.
Brown the shin on all sides until it is a lovely golden brown. A reminder that with pressure cooking, your flavor comes from the browning, so don’t miss this step!
After your meat is browned, add the onion and ginger and let them brown a bit in the hot fat.
Add the brown sugar and anchovy; stir the pot a bit and then add the soy sauce, wine, star anise, peppercorns and enough water to come up just below the top of the meat. Make sure you don’t add too much liquid, no more than 2/3 the total volume of the cooker (less water = more flavah). Stir it up and crank the heat up to high.
Add the eggs and tofu.
Put the pressure cooker top on and wait for the steam release valve to start rocking rhythmically. At this point, turn the heat down to keep it rocking at a gentle pace. Set your timer for 45 minutes.
When your timer goes off, take the pot off the heat but let the steam release naturally, meaning take it off the heat but do NOT remove the lid until it has cooled a bit, about 10-15 minutes.
While it is cooling, cook your noodles (we use udon) or rice or congee.
This is another place I sway from tradition; I like it hot but traditionally the shin is cooled and thinly sliced. Try it both ways and see how you like it .
Serve with thinly sliced green onions and a little garlic chili sauce if that’s how you roll. A drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil is most welcome here.

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