Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes, plus chilling time for the terrine
Servings:20 to 24
Note: This recipe requires a pressure cooker able to cook at 15 PSI (pounds per square inch) as well as a terrine mold and a piece of cardboard cut to fit the dimensions of the top of the terrine. Pig ears are generally available at Asian markets and can usually be ordered through your butcher. Light soy sauce, Shao Xing rice wine, Chinkiang black vinegar and Sichuan peppercorns are generally available at Asian markets.
4 pounds pig ears
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup rice wine, preferably Shao Xing
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 1/4 teaspoons (½ ounce) salt
1 tablespoon (½ ounce) sugar
1/2 pod star anise
1 1/2 ounces (about 2 inches) ginger, peeled and sliced
1 ounce (about 6 cloves) garlic, left whole
3 ounces (about ½ small) onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons black vinegar, preferably Chinkiang
Julienned carrots, scallions and ginger threads, for garnish
Dipping sauce (recipe below)
1. Clean the pig ears: Remove any dirt or hairs, and rinse the ears thoroughly. Set aside.
2. In the pressure cooker, combine the chicken broth, rice wine, light soy sauce, salt and sugar.
3. Make a sachet: In a large piece of cheesecloth, place the star anise, ginger, garlic and onion. Bring the sides of the cheesecloth together to make a pouch and tie together with cotton twine.
4. Place the sachet in the pressure cooker with the liquid, and place the pig ears on top. Seal the cooker and bring the pressure to 15 PSI. Cook the ears for 1 hour, then turn off the heat and let the pressure cooker depressurize naturally.
5. Once the pressure has dissipated, remove the pig ears and set aside. Strain the liquid into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, discarding the sachet. Place the pan over high heat and add the black vinegar. Cook the liquid until it is thickened and reduced to about 2 cups (tiny bubbles will cover the surface of the liquid). Remove from heat.
6. While the liquid is reducing, cut the pig ears into large enough pieces that they fit the width of the terrine mold.
7. Prepare the terrine mold: Rub a small amount of water along the inside of the terrine mold. Place a large piece of plastic wrap in the mold, sliding it along the inside so it smoothly lines the terrine mold, extending out of the mold at least 2 inches on all sides.
8. Assemble the terrine: Place pieces of pig ear in an even, solid layer in the bottom of the prepared mold, then pour a small amount of the reduced liquid over the ears so the liquid just comes to the top of the ear layer. Build another layer of pig ear on top of the first, adding more of the reduced liquid just to cover. Repeat with the layers of pig ear and liquid until the terrine reaches just below the top of the mold.
9. Tap the mold against the table to release any air bubbles, and carefully pull the plastic from each side to prevent creasing of the plastic wrap. Gather the extra plastic wrap at the top and fold it over the terrine, as if you were wrapping a present.
10. Cut a piece of cardboard just large enough to fit the terrine. Place it on the plastic-covered top of the terrine, making sure it sits just inside the walls of the mold. Place the mold in the refrigerator, with a weight on top of the cardboard. Refrigerate overnight to set the terrine.
11. The next day, unmold the terrine. Unwrap the plastic wrap and slice to desired thickness. Serve with julienned carrots, scallions and ginger threads, along with the dipping sauce.
3 tablespoons chile oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons black vinegar
1 tablespoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
In a small bowl, whisk together the chile oil, light soy sauce, black vinegar, peppercorns and garlic. This makes about one-half cup dipping sauce.