8 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons Asian black-bean sauce
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar, plus more for sauce
2 large pork shanks (about 4 pounds total)
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus more for sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions

In a small bowl, cover the mushrooms with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let soak for at least 45 minutes, or until tender. Drain mushrooms and reserve 1/2 cup soaking liquid. Cut off and discard mushroom stems, then thinly slice caps. Set aside.

In bowl of a food processor, combine the ginger, garlic, cilantro, black-bean sauce, peanut oil, 1 teaspoon sugar and the vinegar. Process until mixture forms a smooth paste.

Heat oven to 325 F. Cut 6 to 8 deep, equally spaced gashes in meaty part along length of each pork shank. Fill gashes with bean and cilantro paste, then rub any remaining paste over rest of each shank. Place shanks in a large bowl and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the sherry, reserved mushroom soaking liquid and chicken broth. Boil mixture over medium-high until reduced to 4 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and set aside.

Measure two 18-inch pieces of heavy-duty foil. Place half of the scallions and half of sliced mushrooms into center of each sheet. Spoon half of reduced sherry mixture over vegetables. Place one pork shank on top of each mound of vegetables with bone vertical. Loosely pull foil around shank, taking care not to let any liquid spill out. Pull foil tightly up around shank to seal in liquid (bone can be exposed).

Place shanks vertically in a deep casserole or roasting pan. Roast for 2 to 3 hours, or until meat is almost falling from bone. Remove from oven.

Over a bowl, carefully remove foil so as not to lose any braising juices. Pour juices into a saucepan, skim away any fat, then season to taste with more sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Remove meat from bones, then drizzle them with sauce. Meat can be served as is, or with bread or buns.

Makes 8 servings.

— Recipe adapted by The Associated Press from "Bruce Aidells's Complete Book of Pork."