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a different take on hawaiian CSRs

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Joined: 25 January 2010
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    Posted: 28 August 2011 at 15:06
today i am attempting a twist on my wife's grandmother's hawaiian CSR recipe, which has been a favourite in our house for a while now.
earlier this year, i tried the hawaiian-style CSRs in the smoker, and they trrned out very nice. today, i tried something a little different. instead of preparing them in the smoker and then brushing on the sauce during the final stages, i am searing chunks of CSRs in the dutch oven before braising them at low-and-slow in the hawaiian sauce for a couple-three hours. the method i am using is similar to carbonade flamande, but of course with entirely different flavours and meat.
my one concern is that the acid in the sauce from the vinegar and tomatoes sauce might react with the cast iron of the dutch oven, so i am going to see how it works if i brown the meat, drain the fat, de-glaze a little and then toss the de-glazed juices, meat and sauce into an earthenware baking dish. this should work just fine.
the only other "fly in the soup" is that i am using tomato sauce rather than crushed tomatoes, so extra simmering of the sauce beforehand will probably be necessary. it might be a little "thin," but the prolonged braising will hopefully not suffer for it.
Quote here's the basic recipe for the sauce:

1 large onion, diced
3 tbsp brown sugar (recipe says light, i use dark)
1/4 cup vinegar (recipe says white, i use apple cider)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 large (22 oz?) can of crushed pineapple
1 large (28 oz?) can of tomato sauce

saute onion in a little oil, butter, whatever - until carmelized and transluscent. remove from heat and add the rest of the ingredients. bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer for at least an hour or as long as you like - it only gets better. brush sauce on pork or braise pork in the sauce, depending on how you're cooking it.

NOTE - for today, i doubled the recipe, added 4 garlic cloves (minced) and then added half-again as much soy sauce (reduced sodium) as well as (dark) brown sugar
let's see what happens! Tongue
(a few hours later......)
these really turned out well ~ here's a quick run-down on the procedure in case anyone wants to try them.
i'd also recommend reviewing the hawaiian-style CSRs and carbonade flamande threads for some notes and pix regarding preparation of the sauce and the meat (in this case, about 5 pounds of pork CSRs).
basically, i made the sauce, according to the directions and with the variations noted above. because i had only tomato sauce and not crushed tomatoes, some extra simmering was required, but not as much as i thought.
when the sauce had simmered a while and started to take on a rich, dark reddish-brown colour, i tossed the CSRs (boned and cut into chunks) into the dutch oven with a little salt and pepper and then seared them all around, just as when doing carbonade, until the liquids were gone and there were crusties on the bottom of the dutch oven. i then removed the meat to an earthenware baking dish (a HUGE shout-out to the pampered chef - this baking dish is wonderful!), poured off all the fat, and then deglazed with a little apple-cider vinegar and water (i would have used broth, but had none - pineapple or orange juice would probably work just as well as the vinegar). when all the crusty bits were lifted off, and the deglazing liquid had reduced down to a nice, rich, thick sauce, i poured it over the meat.
by now, the sauce had reduced down to the point where it was rich, thick and just enough to fill the baking dish with the meat in it. i poured it all in, stirred it and the pork chunks around, and then pushed the chunks down to keep them covered as much as i could.
then i put the dish, uncovered, into the oven at 325 for an hour or so; the idea as to bake the sauce down onto the pork, similar to the basic method for making burnt ends for beef brisket. after an hour or so, i stirred everything around. the sauce had reduced and darkened beautifully, and was really smelling good. i stirred again and then returned them to the oven for another hour or so, until the sauce was really rich and thck (sorry to keep using those same words, but it just kept getting better and better as the sauce reduced!), and the pork was all fork tender and juicy. if there had been a little elss sauce, or if i ahd cooked them a little lonoger, i believe the sauce would have crusted onto the meat and darkened very, very nicely, but it was suppertime and no one wanted to wait, so we enjoyed the chunks as they were, swimming in this beautiful sauce! i served this treasure with mashed potatoes (i would have preferred rice, but was out-voted by the family!), using the sauce as a gravy.
this was a very, very good way to prepare this dish! i can't describle the umami that was going on, but all ingredients worked together to achieve some real savory goodness that was full of depth. the whole family raved about it, and there were no leftovers for the next day ~ always a sign of a good meal!
because it was an experiment, and due to the family pigging out before i could even gt things halfway organized, i had no pictures, but this will definitely be prepared with this method again, and i will see about getting pix of the process.  for now, following the links above should give a fairly good idea about how to prepare this wonderful feast, if anyone wants to try it.
and of course, if anyone has any questions at all, please ask!
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