Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet & Sour Pork

Stir fry is a great dinner option because it's fast, healthy and always satisfying.  There isn't much to the stir fry I typically make: pieces of cut up chicken, frozen stir fry vegetables from Costco and House of Tsang Szachuan Spicy Stir Fry Sauce.  Pretty simple, basically a step above dialing for take out.  I have collected numerous recipes for Chinese take-out inspired dishes and have all of the standard sauce ingredients, I really don't have an excuse but pure laziness. 

Last week Brady found a recipe for Sweet & Sour Pork on Handle the Heat. It sounded great and I was very excited to make a stir fry dish that didn't involve frozen vegetables and jarred sauce.  We gave it a try on Friday night and it was great!  I loved the flavor that the Chinese Five Spice brought to the dish, I had never used this before and it was a great addition.  The sweetness of the pineapple went perfectly with the pork and this honestly tasted like a dish that you would get at a good Chinese restaurant. 

Sweet & Sour Pork
** adapted from Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver
printable recipe

Serves 2
Prep/Cook Time: 25 minutes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c. long-grain or basmati rice
½ pound pork tenderloin
1 small red onion
1 red or yellow bell pepper (or ½ of each)
A thumb-sized piece of fresh root ginger
2 cloves of garlic
½ - 1 fresh red chile or jalepeno pepper
a small bunch of fresh cilantro
peanut or vegetable oil
1 heaped teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 8-ounce can of pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and add the rice. Cook according to package directions. Drain the water and cover to keep warm until needed.

Meanwhile, halve the pork tenderloin and cut into ¾ inch cubes. Peel and halve the red onion, then dice into ¾ inch cubes. Halve the bell pepper, seed, and cut into ¾ inch cubes. Peel and finely slice the ginger and garlic. Finely slice the chile. Chop the cilantro and set aside.

Preheat a wok or large frying pan on high heat and once it’s very hot, add enough oil to coat the pan (a couple teaspoons should do) and swirl it around. Add the pork and five-spice powder and stir. Cook for a few minutes until browned, then transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

Carefully give the wok or pan a quick wipe with a ball of paper towels and return to the heat. When it’s really hot, add more oil (another teaspoon should do) and all the chopped ingredients. Stir everything together and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Let everything cook for 30 to 40 seconds, then add the pineapple chunks with their juice, the browned pork and balsamic vinegar. Season with black pepper and a little more soy sauce, if needed.  Break open a piece of the pork, check to see if it’s cooked through, and remove from the heat. Reduce the sauce to a gravy-like consistency by cooking for a few minutes more.

To serve the stirfry, divide the rice between two bowls or plates. Spoon the pork, veggies, and sauce over the top and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and reserved cilantro leaves.

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