Category Archives: Pork

Thai Pork with Spicy Green Beans

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Thai Pork with Spicy Green Beans

I have a serious phobia about trying new things at restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love checking out new restaurants and have no problem ordering whatever sounds good to me, but when it comes to ordering something different than what I got the first time I was there, I’m a total wimp. When I already know that something is good, why would I take a risk and order something different? What if it doesn’t taste good and I just waste a bunch of money?

The absolute worst case of order-changing-phobia I’ve ever had was at this little Thai place in the town where I went to college. The first time I tried Thai food I ordered chicken with cashew nuts, and it has been my absolute favorite dish in the WORLD ever since. In all seriousness, it took me YEARS to order something different. I finally got tipsy brave one night at dinner and decided to order something different.  I went with pad prik king, also known as chicken with spicy green beans, and it was divine. Prik king itself is actually a type of curry , like panang or massaman. In Thailand the husband and I saw prik king used “dry” (meaning without coconut milk) to saute meat and vegetables. While chicken and green beans is the most common combination seen here in the states, moo paht prik king, or pork with spicy green beans, is a delicious alternative.

An absolute cinch to make, this dish comes together in under 15 minutes so be sure to start your rice ahead of time!

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Side note: I recently found myself on the rice aisle at the local Asian supermarket deciding between a ten or twenty-five pound bag of jasmine rice. I think I have a problem.

Okay, back to the pork: Do you see that delicious sauce nestled underneath the green beans and pork? It is just begging to be soaked up by some rice. Never skimp on the rice.

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You don’t need any special equipment or ingredients to make this incredibly easy dish at home. I’ve included the traditional elements below, but I’ve also added notes about simple substitutions you can make if you don’t have a particular ingredient on hand.

Makes: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed (or vegetable) oil
  • 3 Tbsp. prik king curry paste (or use any red curry paste, such as panang, massaman, or regular “red”)
  • 1lb. boneless pork loin, very thinly sliced crosswise into 2-inch strips
  • 1/2 c. fat free chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 4 wild lime leaves*, halved (or serve with lime wedges)

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and toss in your green beans. Let cook for about 3 minutes, then strain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Heat the sesame and grapeseed oil over medium-low in a large skillet. Add in the curry paste and stir for 2-3 minutes until the paste is well combined with the oil. Use the back of a wooden spoon to work the two together.
  3. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the pork strips. Stir the pork around to evenly coat in curry paste for a minute or two, then add in the broth, fish sauce, wild lime leaves (if using), and palm sugar. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add the green beans to the pan and saute for another 3 minutes.
  5. Serve with lots of jasmine rice!

*The lime leaves are pictured as a garnish, in case you are wondering what they look like.

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Nutrition (per serving):

308 calories, 18 g. fat, 27 g. protein, 10 g. carbs, 2 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

What are your favorite Thai dishes? I’d love a challenge!

Latin Pork & Tomatillo Stew

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Latin Pork & Tomatillo Stew

One of our very good friends just turned 30 so we attended a shin-dig hosted by his girlfriend over the weekend. The theme was “Fiesta” so I decided to bring Elderflower Sangria and a big pot of Latin Pork & Tomatillo Stew with homemade corn tortillas. Bringing a hearty stew to a party in the middle of July may seem strange, but I was happy to have something filling to soak up the booze.

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At less than 350 calories per serving, this stew is the perfect choice for a filling meal without the guilt. I’d highly recommend taking the 30 minutes to make the homemade tortillas, as they just bring something special to the table compared to the store-bought variety.

The pork takes a little while to roast in the oven, but it is totally worth it to achieve that fork-tender fall-apart texture. Next to the heat from the Serranos and the bright flavor of the tomatillos, the pork tastes wonderfully savory.

Start by roasting some poblano chilies under your broiler, then set them in a bowl to steam under a cloth for fifteen minutes.

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Next, get your pork, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, Serranos, green pepper, and onions into a Dutch Oven and into the oven to roast for one hour.

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Meanwhile, take two pounds of tomatillos…

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…husk them…

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…and chop them into quarters.

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Grab those poblanos out from under the dish cloth and peel them under running water. Remove the seeds, and chop.

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Add the tomatillos and poblanos to the pot and return it to the oven for another hour and a half. This would be a great time to work on some homemade tortillas!

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Add in the corn, stir, and taste. Add salt and black pepper as needed.

Garnish with cilantro and cotija cheese. Serve with warm corn tortillas for dipping!

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Makes: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 poblano chilies
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped, divided
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 2 lbs. tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and each cut into quarters
  • 1 can (16 oz). corn, drained

Directions:

  1. Preheat your broiler to High and line a broiling pan with foil. Place the poblanos on the pan and broil close to the source of the heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 10 minutes. Wrap foil around poblanos and allow to steam until cook enough to handle.
  2. Turn oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a heavy 5-quart Dutch oven, combine garlic, salt, half of the chopped cilantro leaves, pork, green pepper, onions, serranos, cumin, and cayenne. Toss to combine. Cover and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, remove and discard skin and seeds from the poblanos. Cut chilies into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Stir  tomatillos and roasted poblanos into the Dutch oven. Cover and bake 1 1/2- 2 hours longer, or until the meat is very tender. Stir in corn and heat through. Sprinkle with reserved cilantro and cotija cheese.  Serve with tortillas.

Nutrition (per serving):

349 calories, 22 g. fat, 22 g. protein, 17 g. carbs, 4 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 9

15-Minute Vietnamese Pepper-Pork

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15-Minute Vietnamese Pepper-Pork

Another 15-minute recipe! I think it’s fairly obvious that I’m having a pretty lazy week. It’s just too hot around here to justify spending more than fifteen minutes in the kitchen, so forgive me if just want to inhale my food, sit down, and direct the AC unit right at the couch.

Did you forgive me yet? Okay, great. On to the food.

A while back I bought a bunch of tri-color peppercorns from the bulk section on a total whim. They have been sitting in a pretty little jar on my counter for ages, entirely neglected. I finally cooked the perfect dish to justify the “work” of grinding my own peppercorns – Vietnamese Peppercorn Pork.

 

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I don’t know why I put off grinding peppercorns for so long because it was an absolute cinch. I just toasted them for a bit in a hot pan with some lime-infused grapeseed oil (you could use any oil you like!), then abused the heck out of them in the mortar and pestle that I bought on the streets of Bangkok’s Chinatown (finally! a reason to use it!). Let’s just take a minute to talk about how surprised I was to find a Chinatown in Bangkok. I’m not sure why I never realized that cities outside of the U.S. could also have Chinatowns, but it seemed totally weird to me at the time.

Back to the pork!

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I’m still trying to figure out the whole “lighting” thing, so I took these pictures outside on our back pork porch (that was an actual typo that was just too awesome to delete). Right, so just picture this… I have this dish sitting in a silver tray that I really only use around Christmastime (another sweet gift from the MIL), which is sitting on a bar stool on our back patio. The husband is holding up a few sheets of paper towels to try to diffuse some of the direct evening sunlight, and I’m practically sitting on the hood of my car to try to take a picture. I really need about six more arms.

Now, back to the porch pork (just kidding this time). This dish comes together in under 15 minutes! Be smart and start your rice ahead of time. I sauteed some fresh spinach in some lime oil and honey-ginger vinegar to go along with it and it was the PERFECT addition to the pork. Feel free to use up whatever leafy greens or vegetables you have taking up space in your fridge.

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The pork has a wonderfully light sweetness to it, while the fish sauce makes it incredibly savory. Toasting the peppercorns in oil before grinding them mellows them out so you’re not sneezing all over the place. Give it a try!

Here’s the recipe:

Makes: 4 Servings (2 servings shown in pictures)

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, cut into half-inch chunks
  • 6 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. water
  • 4 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. oil (I used Lime-Riesling Grape seed Oil, but you could use just about anything!)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized heavy-bottom sauce pan, combine the pork chunks, fish sauce, water, and the white and brown sugars.
  2. Heat the pot over medium-high until the mixture reaches a boil.
  3. Reduce to a lively simmer and let cook for 7-9 minutes, or until pork is cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the 1 tsp. of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the peppercorns and sautee for 1-2 minutes until toasted. Be careful not to let them burn!
  5. Remove the peppercorns from the pan and grind with a mortar and pestle (or in a herb mill, or with a ziplock and a hammer, or however you prefer to let out aggression).
  6. Once the pork is cooked through, remove it from the pan and reserve any drippings left in the pot.
  7. Top the pork with the fresh ground pepper corns. Serve with rice and a leafy green. Garnish with fresh lime wedges, and use the leftover drippings as a sauce for the rice.

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Nutrition (per serving):

329 calories, 7 g. fat, 43 g. protein, 20 g. carbs, 0 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 8

What stray ingredients do you have around your house that you need to use up? 

Latin Pork Kebab Bowl

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Latin Pork Kebab Bowl

I have a serious obsession with kebabs lately. There’s just something about eating meat off a stick in the summertime. I can’t get enough!

I particularly love meals that have lots of different flavors, colors, and textures, so this Latin Pork Kebab Bowl is right up my alley.

Just picture it: you, some pork, a bowl of awesomeness, two or six margaritas….. paradise, I tell you.

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Looking at this picture I’m realizing that it looks like I borrowed some under-ripe tomatoes from the neighborhood Taco Bell….but, I didn’t. I swear. Those are actually chunks of papaya!

Papaya and avocado are one of my most favorite food pairings of all time. The smooth, creaminess of the avocado just perfectly balances the tang of the papaya. Together, they melt into smooshed-delicious-awesomeness in your mouth.

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This creation put good use to the leftover pinto beans and white rice in my fridge. You can, of course, prepare fresh rice and beans but you know how I like to speed things up whenever possible.

What can I say? I get REALLY hungry after work. The husband calls it hangry – I’m so hungry, I’m just angry! You wouldn’t like me when I’m hangry.

Anyway, so here’s how you make this bowl of YUM:

Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • marinade

    • Juice of three limes
    • 3 Tbs. grape seed oil
    • 2 tsp. brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 large clove garlic, minced
    • Pinch cayenne pepper
    • Kosher salt
  • kabobs

    • 1 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
    • Bamboo skewers
  • bowl

    • 2 c. cooked rice
    • 1 1/2 c. cooked pinto or black beans (or just use one can, rinsed and drained)
    • 1 small avocado, diced
    • 1 cup papaya, diced
    • Juice from half a lime
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. To make the marinade, combine the juice of three limes, grape seed oil, brown sugar, cumin, minced garlic, cayenne pepper, and a dash of salt in a resealable plastic zipper bag. Add the cubed pork, toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least an hour, but up to four hours.
  2. Meanwhile, soak your bamboo skewers in water for at least thirty minutes. Maybe have a beer.
  3. Cook your rice if you don’t have any leftovers to use: in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to a boil 1 cup dry rice, 2 cups water, a teaspoon of oil and a dash of salt. Continue boiling until water has reduced to just barely skimming the surface of the rice. Turn the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for fifteen minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  4. Add the juice from half a lime to a medium sized bowl and add your red onion. Set aside.
  5. Fifteen minutes before your pork is done marinading, preheat your grill to medium-high.
  6. Once marinaded, thread pork cubes onto your pre-soaked skewers and place them on the grill. Cook for about 8 minutes, turning once or twice, until cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from grill and let rest for three-five minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, add your papaya and avocado to the boil containing your lime juice and red onion and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Set out four bowls and to each one place a quarter of each of your components in the following order: rice, beans, papaya/avocado mixture, cilantro, and, finally, top with pork kebabs.

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Nom nom nom nom nom.

Don’t mind me, just chowing down over here.

What are your favorite foods to eat off of a stick? What else should I do with the massive amount of leftover papaya I have?

Nutrition (per serving):

446 calories, 17 g. fat, 20 g. protein, 56 g. carbs, 11 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 11

Related Links:

Caribbean Pork and Clementine Kebabs – from Healthy. Delicious.

Mango Pork Kebabs – from Pots and Plots

Papaya & Avocado Salad – from The Leftover Queen