I’m convinced that the latest issue of Bon Appetite may have been written especially for me. In it, they navigate the restaurant scene in San Fransico (which I am currently making summer travel arrangements for), share the recipe and feature the Red Hook Lobster Pound food truck in DC (that I recently visited), celebrate the traditions of Greek Easter, disclose the beauty of the Country Ham and shine light on Spring’s most attractive veggies. As I flipped through, I had no idea where to start. Luckily Jeb’s request to learn Asian cooking quickly took me to their recipe for Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chiles. The photo in the magazine completely outshines my attempt at photographing this dish. I leave ground meat photography to the pros – feel free to buy a magazine to check it out (it is worth it).
I made a couple adjustments to the recipe. I was informed by the butcher at Harris Teeter that “they do not grind pork.” She also couldnt tell me what cut of meat their ground pork is. All things suspect. I’m not sure where they have their pork ground, but the mystery ground pork in the case is run through the grinder one more time than you need. So, skip that step. I purchased a pork tenderloin (you can do a pork loin too) and ground it myself. It is really is simple – just freeze the meat for about an hour, cut it into one inch cubes and then run it through the food processor about 3 or 5 pulses. Check the meat with your hands and see if it is coarsely ground (somewhere in between cut in cubes and ground like hamburger meat). I had more than 12 ounces of meat so I adjusted the seasonings a bit. I also skipped the Chinese rice wine because I didnt have it.
I must admit that I’m no pro at Asian cooking – and this turned out to be exceptional. A great recipe to start experimenting with Asian flavors. Just remember – there is no such thing as homecooking police. Experiment, make mistakes and learn from them. What’s the worst that could happen? Calling for Chinese take out?
Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing Chinese rice wine or dry Sherry
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 12 ounces ground pork (preferably coarsely ground; sometimes labeled chili-grind)
- 3 teaspoons Asian sesame oil, divided
- 12 ounces thin to medium asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on extreme diagonal into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 red jalapeño chile, minced with seeds
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
Whisk 1 tablespoon soy sauce, rice wine, and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add pork; toss to blend. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in heavy large wok or deep skillet over high heat. Add asparagus, chile, and ginger. Toss until asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer asparagus mixture to plate. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to wok. Add pork mixture and stir-fry until browned, using spoon to break up pork into small pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. Return asparagus mixture to wok. Add remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, oyster sauce, and honey; stir-fry until pork is cooked through, adding water by tablespoonfuls if dry, about 2 minutes. Add green onions; toss to incorporate. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.