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Oct 3, 2013 11:58 AM

How to cook pig ears for Sichuan-style cold appetizer?

I bought pig ears that I plan on cooking, slicing thinly, and serving cold with chili oil, Sichuan peppercorns, and scallions (possibly a few additional things--garlic, soy? I'll probably pick a recipe in Fuchsia Dunlop's Land of Plenty and just swap out the protein). But, I'm not really sure how to prepare the ears. I typically cook tough cuts in the pressure cooker, but I want them to retain some chew, and I'm not sure if the pressure cooker might over-tenderize them. Does anyone have any idea how long to cook them either in a pressure cooker or conventionally?

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  1. Conventionally I'd say parboil the ears to remove any impurities and then braise for 2-3 hours until tender. I think you should be able to pressure cook them in an aromatic broth without any harm. The cartilage will still remain crunchy.

    1. 1. Singe, Shave or pluck any Hairs.
      2. Scrub well Roll and Tie if desired
      3. Blanc for 5-10 min. to remove Impurities as mentioned and rinse
      4. Poach.
      Here you have a couple of ways to go depending on the look and flavor you want,either in Master Sauce or in Water (you can add some aromatics if you like but nothing that adds color). I have seen both kinds served and both are good.
      Conventionally they would cook for 1.5 to 3 hours. Depending on how crunch you like them to retain. They also firm up a lot after they are cold.

        1. Thanks for the tips. I shaved a few stray bristles (I'd been looking forward to blowtorching them, but there wasn't really enough hair to justify it), simmered them briefly in plain water, then pressure cooked for 40 minutes in water with a bit of soy sauce, mirin, ginger, and star anise. I let them cool to room temp, and they were softer than I would have liked, but they firmed up after I put them in the fridge.

          I mixed the sliced ears with cucumber, scallions, and one of the sauces Dunlop suggests for cold chicken--I think it might've been called hot-and-numbing sauce. I wound up having far less chili oil than I should have given the quantity of meat, so while it came out alright, I would've liked a bit more heat.