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(post, Bruce Harrington)
St. Paul has a wonderful Vietnamese-French bakery, Trung Nam, that sells a binh mi sandwich - roast pork, cilantro, a thin slice of jalapeno, and leaf of lettuce on an exquisite demi-baguette. The baguette isn't just better than your average bakery baguette, it is heaven. The contents round out the picture, but you don't buy the sandwich for the roast pork. It's the bread. Whenever I find a dish I love, I deconstruct it. I'm new to baking, but have been working on baguettes on and off for a year. Somewhere between Mark Bittman's recipe for quick, crusty French bread and Shirley Corriher's baking tips (vitamin C and garbanzo bean flour), I produce a decent baguette, but I've turned my attention to slow roasting pork. Last night, I experimented with an amalgam of ideas on Vietnamese pork I picked up on the web. I made a marinade of 1 tablespoon red pepper paste (kochujang in Korean), a few cloves of crushed garlic, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, a tablespoon of Chinese five spice, a teaspoon of sugar, vegetable oil and water. I coated a 1 1/2 pound hunk of pork shoulder butt overnight and roasted it on low heat for two hours. I feared the kochujang would zap my seven year-old daughter. The sugar, five spice and fat blended into a flavorful, juicy and tender surprise. The accent from the five star's anise and hint of heat complemented the sweetness. Pork accomodates sweet, but I'd stayed out of the sugary zone of ketchup or commercial BBQ sauce. I liked what I made, but I am seeking advice -- does anyone have a recipe for Vietnamese roasted pork?