Hoisin-Braised Pork with Grilled Watermelon and Shishito Peppers

Hoisin-Braised Pork with Grilled Watermelon and Shishito Peppers
  • TOTAL PREP TIME135 minutes

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  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless blade (shoulder) pork roast cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 1 small onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce *
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 15 Shishito peppers cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 lemon
  • Four 3x1, 1/2x1/2-inch pieces watermelon
  • 1/4 teaspoon isot pepper optional *
  • About 1 cup baby mustard greens for garnish (optional)
  • 8 cippolini onions roasted (optional)


In a medium bowl, combine salt, sugar, five-spice, garlic and black pepper. Stir in pork and set aside at room temperature for an hour.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Meanwhile, transfer pork to a strainer and rinse off the spice blend. Pat pork pieces dry and set aside.

In a large braising pan or skillet with a lid over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of oil. Add pork and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove pork to a plate. Add carrot, celery and chopped onion to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, stirring and scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Stir in hoisin sauce and browned pork; bring to a boil. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until pork is very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Use a slotted spoon to remove pork to a bowl or plate and set aside. Strain the sauce. Return pork and strained sauce to the pan. (You can make the pork to this point up to 3 days in advance; let the pork to cool in the liquid, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before proceeding.) Add butter to the pan, stirring until it melts. Season with salt and black pepper and cover to keep warm.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, warm remaining tablespoon of oil. Add shishito peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt, black pepper, and a squeeze of the lemon. Loosely cover to keep warm.

Heat a grill to very hot and lightly oil the grate. Grill watermelon on one side until well seared, 45 to 60 seconds. Arrange watermelon on plates grilled side up and sprinkle with isot pepper, if using, salt, and black pepper. Use a slotted spoon to arrange pork on top. Arrange shishito peppers on top of the pork. Spoon on some of the sauce and garnish with mustard greens, if using. Serve the cipollini onions, if using, on the side.

Serves 4

* Look for hoisin sauce in the Asian or ethnic section of your supermarket. For isot pepper, also known as urfa biber, look at spice markets, Middle Eastern groceries and online.