Authentic Vietnamese recipes from the Motherland

Braised Pork with Creamy Polenta

It seems as though most of the United States is in a deep freeze. I'm lucky to be living in California where 50 degrees already has me shivering and complaining bloody murder. For those unfortunate enough to be living elsewhere, try this hearty entrée to warm the belly.


Creamy Polenta

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup polenta or regular corn meal 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2  cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. In a small pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil and then add salt.
  2. Add the polenta slowly while constantly stirring to prevent lumps.
  3. Wait for the polenta to slightly thickened and then cover the pot with lid.
  4. Cook for about 30 minutes. Uncover the pot every 5-6 minutes to stir.
  5. When done, stir in butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  6. Season with salt.
  7. Cover the pot with the lid and let it sit for an additional 5 minutes for all the flavors to meld together.

Braised Pork in Milk and Sage

  • 1 1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut in small cubes, and generously season with salt and pepper 
  • 2 strips bacon, cut into small segments
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup crème fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage leaves
  • salt, pepper, and red chili flakes to taste
  1. In a skillet, fry the bacon until crispy. Drain the bacon bits on a paper towel.
  2. Using the same skillet with the oil from the bacon, brown the pork shoulder on all sides. You are not cooking it, just getting color onto the pork.
  3. Remove the pork from the skillet onto a plate and set aside.
  4. In the skillet, sauté the onions until translucent.
  5. Add in the garlic and stir until fragrant.
  6. Add in the water.
  7. Whisk in the crème fraiche.
  8. Bring the heat to high and then add in the pork shoulder and all its liquid.
  9. Add the sage.
  10. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot with lid.
  11. Simmer for about one hour until the pork is almost tender.
  12. Remove the lid and turn the heat to high so the sauce can reduce and thickened.
  13. Add in a pinch of red chili flakes for color.
  14. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a shallow bowl, put a small amount of polenta on the bottom with a sprinkle of bacon bits. Top off the polenta with a ladle of braised pork and gravy.