During this crazy end of the school year\just had a baby time, we have been greatly blessed by friends and family who have made us dinners or brought us food. We get to the end of the day and know we need to eat but our brains are too muddled to figure out how. We’re like dumb sheep standing in the kitchen hoping something will sacrifice it’s self onto our plates. Thank you friends and family for keeping us fed!
In our reserves we had two delicious pork tenderloin steaks. We haven’t cooked pork chops too often so we went to our stand-by, Jamie Oliver, to find a good recipe. It came down to sweet and sour stir fry or sweet glazed pork chops. I went with the sweet and sour because we could use one of the steaks, saving the other for a later meal. In the interest of full disclosure, I fully expected Ryan to cook dinner. He, meanwhile. fully expected me to. I lost. Before I could get the few needed ingredients from the store, I had to Wikipedia what they were (yes, Wikipedia as a verb). This recipe calls for Five Spice Powder. We’ve looked for this before with no success. We even considered that it was just a British thing and we didn’t have it here or it was called something else maybe. After consulting the intertubes, I discovered a few things:
- Five Spice Powder is an Asian spice blend consisting of: Chinese cinnamon, anise, cloves, fennel and sichuan pepper
- It is most often used to season fatty meat dishes such as pork and duck
- Wal-Mart had some in stock
I’ve noticed Jamie Oliver tends to have three types of dishes–Traditional English, Indian\Asian and grilled meats. His traditional English stews, soups, meats and fishes all take a slow easy does it pace; chop everything up throw it together let it cook, no rush. His Asian and grilled recipes, however, are much more frantic to cook. Part of his mission is to offer quick and easy meals and he does this by cooking his curries, stir fries and grilled meats on very high heat. This means everything cooks quickly, but also that everything burns quickly. It is imperative to have everything laid out ready to go in at the precise time it’s needed as some steps only take 15-20 seconds.
So it was with the sweet and sour pork stir-fry. I cubed up one of the pork steaks and coated with the five spice powder. Into a skillet with very hot oil they went just long enough to brown. I scooped out the pork and after bringing the pan back up to heat, threw in chopped red pepper, red onion, garlic and ginger as well as soy sauce and cornstarch. Once they cooked for a few minutes I threw the pork back in as well as pineapple chunks with their juice and balsamic vinegar. After letting the sauce reduce a bit and thicken it was ready to serve over basmati rice with lettuce leaves. I wasn’t sure about the lettuce, but it totally works. I sprinkled some sesame seeds on top for better presentation. All in all, once everything was prepared, the stir fry took less than 10 minutes to cook.
We decided the dish could use stronger flavor so when we make it again, we’ll add more of the 5 spice blend. My palate isn’t that refined and to be honest, I could taste the cinnamon but the other 4 spices just blurred together into a curry taste. Cooked pineapple with pork is one of my favorite flavor combinations, however, and homemade Chinese food leaves your self-esteem intact so I think we’ll make this one again.