My family can never get enough of this dish, with its sweet, salty, bitter, spicy flavors. If you like lots of greens, you can add a second bunch of kale, but you’ll need to stir it three or four times as it cooks. Serve over soba or other Asian noodles and top with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds.
If you like this dish, we recommend our ramen broth recipe with pork, mushrooms, and ginger.
Courtesy of Weldon Owen; photo by Eva Kolenko
- Yields: 6 to 8 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 8 hrs 25 mins
- Active: 25 mins
- 1 (4- to 4-1/2–pound) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 equal pieces
- Kosher salt
- 1⁄3 cup mirin or medium-dry white wine
- 1⁄4 cup tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey, warmed
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 heaping tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1⁄2 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, sliced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, if following the optional browning step
- 1 large bunch kale (preferably lacinato, or flat-leaf kale), ribs removed and leaves chopped
- Season the pork pieces with salt. In a small bowl, stir together the mirin, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, onion, and jalapeño, if using.
- This step is optional: Put a flameproof slow cooker insert on the stovetop over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. (Or, use a frying pan for this step.) Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, add the pork pieces and sear them on the first side, without moving them, until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the pieces and sear on the second side until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
- Transfer the insert to the slow cooker and pour the mirin-soy mixture over the pork. If you’ve skipped the browning step, put the pork in the slow cooker and pour in the mirin-soy mixture. Toss to coat the pork evenly with the mixture. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 8 hours. About 1 hour before the pork is ready, stir in the kale. The pork should be very tender and the kale should be tender.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Break the pork into large chunks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir gently to combine.
- Spoon the pork, kale, and cooking liquid onto cooked soba or other noodles, arranged on a warmed platter or individual plates. Serve right away.