Szechwan Pork with Peppers
I have fallen back into the habit of planning my weekly menu based solely on recipes I find online. There is a huge variety of sources from which to pick between blogs, recipe sites, newsletters, etc., and I find that there are just not enough meals in the week for me to be able to try all the new recipes I want! Does anyone else have this problem? Well, I’m not really sure it’s a problem since I love trying new recipes and reading and learning all about different types of food, flavor combinations, and global cuisines. The only real problem with this setup is that I have a rather neglected bookcase full of cookbooks staring at me, longing to be used. So, randomly, one afternoon, I decided to just grab one off the shelf, flip through the pages, and pick a recipe to be made sometime that week. I ended up choosing this Szechwan Pork with Peppers recipe from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, “Easy Everyday Cooking”.
There were countless delicious looking recipes and photos in this cookbook, but when I read the description of the recipe, I was hooked:
The use of sweet peppers plus the spicy sweetness of hoisin sauce blend smoothly with the pleasant heat of the hot bean sauce to create this pork dish.
Sweet and spicy? Yes, please. A chance to use up the bell peppers I had sitting in my fridge? Check. Trying out a new ingredient I’ve never heard of or used before (hot bean sauce)? Definitely!
I ran into a slight issue with that last criteria in that I couldn’t locate hot bean sauce, so I used black bean sauce with garlic and mixed in a bit of Sriracha to give it some heat. Since I’ve never had hot bean sauce before, I don’t know if this was exactly the same or not, but it did turn out really well. I really enjoyed the dark, sweet and spicy sauce and the combination of the crunchy peppers and tender pork. Ryan thought this dish could have benefited from more pork, less peppers as you will see that you use four whole bell peppers to only 12 ounces of pork. Honestly, I didn’t mind it at all and quite enjoyed the change in ratio compared to most stir-fry that I’ve had that uses more meat than veggies. My only complaint with the dish was the rice noodles I decided to serve it on; I had some to use up and thought it would be a nice change from brown rice, but I found them hard to eat and lacking in flavor and texture.
Bottom line, this was a great, quick dinner that reminded me to take the time to flip through my arsenal of cookbooks a little more frequently.
Szechwan Pork with Peppers
12 ounces boneless lean pork loin chops
3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon black bean sauce with garlic
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1. Trim fat from pork. Partially freeze pork. Thinly slice across grain into bite-size strips. Set aside. For sauce, in a small bowl stir together hoisin sauce, bean sauce, Sriracha, soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.
2. Pour cooking oil into a wok or large skillet. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.) Preheat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry ginger and garlic in hot oil for 15 seconds. Add peppers; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove pepper mixture from the wok.
3. Add pork to the hot wok. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Push pork from the center of the wok. Stir sauce. Add sauce to center of wok. Cook and stir until bubbly.
4. Return pepper mixture to wok. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce. Cook and stir for 1 minute more or until heated through. Serve immediately over hot cooked noodles or rice.
Source: “Easy Everyday Cooking” from Better Homes & Gardens Cooking, p. 126
4 servings | 6 POINTS
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