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Lion's Head Meat

Traditionally this Shanghai casserole dish featuring oversized pork meatballs and greens is cooked in a sand clay pot. In this recipe the meatballs are cooked in a wok, but they can also be cooked in a Dutch oven or in a casserole dish in the oven.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 2 slices minced ginger
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Black or white pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound greens, such as spinach or bok choy
  • 1 - 2 cups chicken broth, as needed
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil, or to taste

PREPARATION:

Rinse the water chestnuts, drain and finely chop. Mince the ginger and dice the green onion. Lightly beat the egg. In a large bowl, mix the ground pork with the egg, water chestnuts, chopped green onion, minced ginger, light soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sugar, and pepper. Mix in the cornstarch.

Form the ground pork into 4 large meatballs the size of tennis balls or 8 smaller meatballs that are approximately the size of golf balls.

Wash and shred the greens.

Heat a wok or heavy frying pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs. Cook until browned, turning over halfway through cooking (about 8 to 10 minutes total). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

In a separate small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in the dark soy sauce. Season with salt and/or sugar if desired. Stir in the sesame oil.

Arrange the greens on the bottom of the wok and add the meatballs. Pour the chicken broth over. Cover and simmer on low heat until the meatballs are tender (about 1 to 1 1/4 hours). Add more chicken broth if necessary.

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