Japanese Style Meat and Potato Stew (Nikujaga)

IMG_0936

Ingredients: 

  • 400g Pork Shoulder (trimmed, and sliced)
  • 1 Onion (trimmed, peeled and sliced)
  • 2 Carrots (trimmed, peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 1 Lotus Root (trimmed, peeled and sliced)
  • 6 Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled and cut in half)
  • 150g Snow Peas (trimmed, and cleaned)
  • 1000ml Chicken Stock
  • 2 tbsp Ginger (peeled and minced)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 75ml Mirin
  • 75ml Soy Sauce
  • 75ml Sake
  • 50g Sugar
  • 1tbsp Salt
  • 1tbsp Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Prepare a marinade by mixing your ginger, garlic, mirin, soy sauce, sake, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.  Add your sliced pork into the mixture and marinade for 8-12hrs.
  2. When your pork is marinated, strain the and reserve the excess marinade for later.
  3. In a large pot, heat over high heat and add a splash of olive oil.  When your pot is hot, add your marinated pork and cook for 3-5mins until golden brown.
  4. When your pork is cooked, add your carrots, and onions and cook for a further 2-3mins.  Then add your potatoes and lotus root, chicken stock and reserved marinade.
  5. When the stew comes to a boil, turn down the heat to low and allow your stew to gently simmer for 45mins-1hr.  During cooking, occasionally skim off any fat and scum that comes to the surface.
  6. When your stew is almost ready, add your snow peas to the pot and cook for 3-4mins.
  7. Your stew is now ready to serve.

 


 

Notes:

  • Traditionally Nikujaga is made with sliced pork belly, potatoes and dashi.  Here I’ve used pork shoulder and chicken stock instead.  I find pork belly can sometimes be a bit too fatty, especially for stews.  So I substituted pork shoulder instead, which is a bit leaner but still has a fair amount of fat content to make it juicy and succulent to eat. 
  • I’ve substituted the dashi with chicken stock in this recipe as it can be difficult to source the necessary ingredients to make a good/proper dashi stock here in Canada without resorting to instant mix packages.  Also I find chicken stock to have better flavour and a fuller body/mouthfeel that works better with this type of stew that includes pork and potatoes.
  • Another variation I have with this recipe as opposed to most traditional Japanese recipes is I take the extra step in marinading my pork before cooking, as opposed to adding those same marinade ingredients last minute as a seasoning.  By marinading your pork beforehand you introduce a lot more flavour and character to the pork as well as the ginger and alcohol in the marinade help remove any off odours/flavours inherent in the pork.  
  • Depending upon the size and width of you pot, you may not have enough liquid to cover and submerge all your stew ingredients.  If that happens, just add more chicken stock or water to your stew until everything is submerged.
  • If you plan on making a large portion of this stew to reheat for later, omit the snow peas in this recipe until your ready to reheat your stew.  When you reheat your stew and as it comes to the boil, than add your snow peas so that they stay fresh, vibrant and tasty.
  • If you wish you can substitute the pork with either chicken or beef.  The only thing to look out for would be the type/cut of meat you use for each animal.  For example, I would use the leg meat in chicken for this recipe, or use the shoulder in beef.  
  • It’s important for your potatoes to be cut into a similar size/shape so that everything cooks evenly.  If you have small potatoes, you can leave whole, medium sized potatoes can be halved and large potatoes can be split in threes or quarters.  

 

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