Fragrant Cinnamon Pork with Sweet Potatoes

Chinese cinnamon, or cassia, has been used by Asian doctors for thousands of years. It is considered to be especially soothing to the stomach. Ayurvedic doctors believe cinnamon harmonizes the flow of circulation in the body, aids digestion, and reduces nausea.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and gristle
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
  • 4 sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons minced scallion greens for garnish


Seasonings:

  • 6 whole scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths, and smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife, peeled, and sliced thin
  • 6 slices fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter, smashed lightly with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 teaspoon hot chile paste
  • 2 to 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise, smashed, or 1 teaspoon aniseeds


Braising Mixture:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine or sake
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


Instructions

1. Cut the pork into 1-1/2-inch cubes

2. Heat the oil until very hot in a 4-quart casserole or a Dutch oven with a lid. Add half the pork pieces. Sear the outside of half the pork over high heat until brown, turning once. Remove and sear the remaining meat. Set aside.

3. Reheat the pan and oil, add the Seasonings. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 15 seconds, then add the Braising Mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the pork, bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, stir, cover, and continue cooking for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Serve the pork and potatoes atop a bed of blanched or steamed greens, with some of the braising mixture spooned on top and accompanied by steamed rice.

From Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health by Nina Simonds (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005). © 2005 by Nina Simonds. All rights reserved.

Categories: 
Main Dishes
Prep time: 
30 minutes
Cook time: 
1 hour
Total time: 
1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 
6 to 8 servings
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