14 October 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

I made this recipe for our Tuesday evening meal because son & heir hath decreed that he "doesn't really like that sort of vegetable thing".   He also doesn't really like anything with vinegar in it - he's definitely not keen on sour flavours (unless they're involving something made by Haribo, of course).

So he had a pizza (which made him happy) and I made the sweet and sour pork for hubby and I - and it was gorgeous.

I found the recipe on the terrific Adora's Box blog, which has been the source of two or three really successful recipes, now.  I love it when you find a blog which contains recipes that you know are going to be tried and tested and, from the write-up, you know are likely to taste this way, or that way.  Makes meal planning so much easier!

Our local butcher supplies six pork steaks for £2.99, which is amazingly good value, especially considering that they are cut from a loin and not from the shoulder.  I used four of these steaks for the two of us as they are cut quite thinly.  Even so, I should really have beaten them out a wee bit thinner as I'm sure they'd have been more tender if I had have done so.  Being loin steaks, they are easy to remove the fat from as well.  Often, I'll include the fat in the pan as I cook the steaks as the fat lends so much flavour, removing it at serving to keep for the dogs.  However, this time I didn't use it as I didn't want to lose the pieces of fat in the general melange of vegetables.  That wouldn't have gone down terribly well at all, if hubby had've found a big old globby piece of fat in his dinner!

The flavour is very definitely sweet and sour.  However, it is a gentler, more rounded flavour combination than one very often finds in these sorts of dishes.  I suspect it is a combination of the velveting of the pork to begin with (coating in soy, sesame oil and cornflour) and the small amount - 1 tablespoon - of white wine or cider vinegar used.  It is enough to create the sour flavour, but not enough to catch at the back of your throat.

Of course, the peppers are lovely in this and I included four or five chestnut mushrooms too - which were a complete joy.  I'm quite sure you could up the vegetable quantity by including carrot, baby corn, baby courgettes, water chestnuts and pak choi, if you wanted.  Certainly the quantity of meat versus the quantity of vegetable matter was weighing heavily in the meat's direction.  Not saying this is a bad thing, just putting the idea out there.

I served ours with plain white rice which was perfectly acceptable, but I'm sure that if you didn't want to include the pak choi in the main dish, some steamed pak choi would be very welcome by the side.

The next time I make this - and there will be a next time (see below!), as I love sweet and sour pork - I shall include son & heir in on the deal.  I can't see that there was anything about the dish that he could have disliked, other than the fact that it included some sort of vegetable matter.  But then, he'll be hard pressed if he thinks he's going to get away with eating no vegetable for the rest of his life!  As they say on LOLCats "aisodon'tthinkso".

18 April 2013 : I made the sweet and sour pork again last night - and this time fed it to son & heir too.  He wasn't overly impressed (and asked, in the preparation, whether "it would contain those stir fry vegetables and stuff") but he did eat it.  Well, everything except the small pieces of broccoli and he wasn't alone in that as his Dad picked those out and left them too.  According to hubby, "broccoli has no place in a sweet and sour".  Well I enjoyed my bits of broccoli, as I really like the way the fluffy head gathers up the sauce!  Tasted yummy in my opinion.  But there we are, we're all different.  Hubby did declare the remainder to be "really good", so I'm not arguing.

I didn't have any mushrooms this time, but I did have a tin of water chestnuts, which were really really good in it.  The butcher had gone mad and gave us a full kilogram of pork steaks, so I had enough left for lunch today.  With the addition of a little Mic's Chilli El Loco BBQ sauce and a few of the leftover water chestnuts, it was a perfectly delicious lunch treat.

SWEET & SOUR PORK  (serves 2)

Ingredients :

400 gm. pork, thinly sliced
3 tbsps. light soy sauce
1 tbsps. brown sugar
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsps. corn flour
1 medium onion
2 stalks of spring onions
1/4 cup each of sweet green and red pepper, cut into squares
1/2 cup tinned pineapple tidbits or chunks
1/4 cup syrup from the tinned pineapple
1 tbsp. white wine or cider vinegar
2 tbsps. tomato ketchup
3 tbsps. honey
3 tbsps. cooking oil

Method :

1.  In a bowl, mix the pork with the light soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and the corn flour.  Mix very well then set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

2.  Heat up a wok until very hot. Add 2 tbsps. of the cooking oil and swirl around to coat the wok.

3.  Add the pork and stir fry on a high heat for about 5 minutes or until the liquid that comes out of the pork is re-absorbed.

4.  If necessary, add the last tbsp. of oil (I didn't need to) and stir fry until the pork is glossy and dry. Add the vinegar, ketchup, pineapple syrup, honey, onions and peppers.

5.  Keep stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Keep the heat high. When the peppers and onions are half done (about 3 minutes), add 1/2 cup of water around the pork to deglaze the pan (again, I didn't need to do this as my pan is a new non-stick and there was nothing to deglaze).

6.  Add the spring onions and the pineapple pieces. Simmer for 2 minutes then turn the heat off.


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