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Peanutty Peppered Pork Sliders

From: Executive sous chef Carolyn Krumpe, Renwood Winery, Plymouth, CA. This recipe won the Entrée Category of the Southern Peanut Growers’ 2013 Chefs’ Recipe Contest. Yield: 12 servings.

Spice-Rubbed Pork:
2 Tbsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder
2 tsp. Szechuan peppercorns, finely ground
1 tsp. salt
2 lb. pork butt, trimmed of heavy fat

Peanut Cabbage Slaw:
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 Tbsp. seasoned rice wine
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 cups Napa cabbage, finely shredded
½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Peanut Pulled Pork Sauce:
¼ cup Chinese plum sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup vegetable stock
½ cup rice wine or sake
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. fresh minced ginger

1 dozen mini brioche or Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 large egg, whisked
2 Tbsp. dry-roasted peanuts,
finely ground

For spice rub: Combine Chinese five spice powder, ground Szechuan peppercorns and salt. Mix until combined. Rub spice mixture onto all surfaces of the pork butt.

For peanut cabbage slaw: Combine peanut oil, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar and crushed red pepper flakes. Whisk until combined.

Blend shredded cabbage, cilantro, red bell pepper, red onion, chopped peanuts, salt and black pepper. Pour peanut oil dressing over cabbage mixture and toss until completely coated.

For spicy peanut pulled pork: Combine the plum sauce, hoisin and peanut butter. Whisk until completely blended. Combine vegetable stock, rice wine, soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger. Whisk until completely blended.

For pork: Roast pork butt at 500°F for 25 to 30 minutes, turning over at least once, until well browned on all sides. Drain rendered fat. Pour vegetable stock mixture over pork; cover tightly and braise at 300°F for 2 to 2 ½ hours until fork tender. Cook pork until it can be handled and shred well, removing fat and any tough tissue. Pour in plum and peanut butter sauce; blend well.

For service: Separate heels from the tops of rolls and place with cut-side down on a lightly buttered sheet pan. Brush tops with egg wash and coat with ½ tsp. finely ground peanuts. Toast rolls at 400°F for 6 to 7 minutes. Flip the heels over to assemble. Evenly distribute spicy peanut pulled pork over heels of the rolls. Top with peanut cabbage slaw and top with roll lids. Serve immediately.

Photograph: Southern Peanut Growers

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