Sweet, Sour and Spicy Pork and Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6
Vegetarian options listed below
Sweet and Sour Sauce
½ cup organic pineapple juice
3 tablespoons coconut aminos or 2 tablespoons organic soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
4 teaspoons ketchup
scant ½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon sea salt – or to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons minced ginger
Add later, when you finish the dish
1 tablespoon organic cornstarch
2 tablespoons sherry
1 pound pork loin, cut in 2” cubes
1 tablespoon un-blasted Emeril spice mix – optional
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 stalk broccoli, cut into florets. Peel the stem, slice into 1/4” pieces and use that also.
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, quartered and sliced into ¾” thick strips
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half-moons
½ fresh pineapple, cubed – I always purchase a fresh pineapple for this dish but you can always purchase pre-cut pinapple chunks
Order of cooking:
Make spice rub if you don’t have any – I make a lot of the rub since I use it quite regularly on a number of dishes
Rub the pork cubes with spice blend
Make the sauce
Blanch the broccoli- set aside
Cook the pork
Cook the onion
Cook the peppers with the onion
Finish the dish
Okay – here we go:
Make the rub
This rub is based on what Emeril Lagasse calls his Bayou Blast. His original recipe is sooooo spicy I have yet to find someone who can eat anything that it’s been used on.
This is my whimpette version Un-Blast Spice Mix. I love it so much I usually double it to have plenty on hand. It stores very well in a glass jar.
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Rub the cut pork
with about 2 tablespoons Un-Blast Spice Mix. Set aside.
Make the sauce
In a bowl mix together the pineapple juice, coconut aminos or soy sauce or gf tamari, ketchup and apple cider vinegar and agave syrup. Whisk up to get all ingredients well blended.
In a small saucepan heat 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring regularly for about 30 seconds or so. Have a bit of water ready to add to the garlic and ginger so the mixture won’t burn. Add just a splash of water to prevent burning, not enough to be simmering the spices in water. Make sense?
When you have that lovely aroma of cooked ginger and garlic add the pineapple/vinegar etc mixture to the pan and simmer over a low-medium heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Blanch the broccoli
You’re going to blanch the broccoli first. Why? If you try cooking the broccoli in with the other veggies it will turn an awful khaki color by the time you serve it. Yuck! Not appealing at all in this beautiful dish.
Bring two quarts of water to a boil in a pot. Put the broccoli in and bring back to a boil. As soon as the broccoli comes to a boil remove it from the water and drain in a colander sitting over a bowl. Save the water for making soup. It’s full of nutrients.
Cook the pork
Using a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add the pork to the pan, turning regularly until it has turned a light, golden brown on all sides. Make sure not to overcook the pork. Remove the pork from the pan and drain. Rather than using paper towels (why waste the towels?) I put the pork on a wire cooling rack, you know, like the ones you put cookies on to cool, and sit it on a cookie sheet to catch the fat.
Sauté the veggies
Put the sauté pan back on the stove over a medium-high heat and add another tablespoon or so of sesame oil.
Add the onion and a pinch of sea salt. Cook the onion for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly and adding a bit of water to prevent burning.
When onions are translucent, rich and creamy looking add the bell peppers and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the texture you would like them to have. Reduce the heat.
Add the sauce along with the cornstarch and sherry mixture, stirring all the while until the sauce thickens.
Add the pork and pineapple and simmer until cooked through.
Add the blanched broccoli to the dish right at the end.
Serve with cooked brown jasmine rice.
Variations on a theme:
Add a lot of other veggies to the dish. A few examples are:
1 carrot, julienne – added with the red pepper
½ cup jicama, peeled, julienned – added with the red pepper
handful of sugar snap peas – added at the end of cooking
handful baby spinach – stirred in with pineapple and pork
For the vegetarians:
Do the dish with tofu or seitan. I love fried tofu in this dish, but that takes a bit of time to do. And a lot of people are afraid of the deep-fryer.
This dish is also great with chicken rather than pork. Follow the directions using boneless chicken breast rather than pork loin. Or use chicken thighs. They are a bit more difficult to work with when boneless but they are delicious!
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