Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pork and Tangerine Stir Fry

I’ve started doing this every year. I make a Chinese-style stir fry to eat while watching A Christmas Story. Of course, I don’t wait until it is played all day on Christmas, but I pick a relatively quiet night before Christmas (not so easy to do, as it turns out) and celebrate with a DVD and a theme dinner.

This year, I came across a Pork and Tangerine Stir Fry in Bon Appetit magazine that seemed perfect: a new ingredient to try (Asian sweet chili sauce), a seasonal ingredient (tangerines), and a way to use up the cabbage I had left after making this salad (I replaced the bok choy in the original recipe). And, it turned out to be delicious!

I loved the tangerines in this recipe. I was able to get my hands on some really pretty organic ones, which I recommend, since they are simply cut into wedges with the peel intact. (If you have conventionally-grown tangerines, scrub the skins well before cutting them up.) I like the way they contribute some bitterness (from that intact peel) that goes well with the tender pork and slightly sweet and spicy sauce.

I’d be happy to make this every December, especially if I can continue to get such nice tangerines. I’m not planning on having such a meal for Christmas dinner, though. We’re having roasted meats and sweet treats at my grandmother’s house. And if someone’s dog ruins our meal, we’ll be many miles from a Chinese restaurant.

Pork and Tangerine Stir Fry
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine

4 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
½ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, crushed
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 small tangerines, cut (with peel) into thin wedges
4 cups chopped red cabbage
¼ cup Asian sweet chili sauce
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
5 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ cup chopped cashews

1. In a medium-size bowl, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Stir until smooth. Add the pork and toss to coat. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high to high heat. (If you’re fast in the kitchen, go for high, otherwise, you might want to try medium-high.) Add the ginger, Szechuan peppercorns and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir 30 seconds.

3. Add the pork and stir fry until browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove the pork from the pan to a clean bowl and set aside.

4. Add the remaining tablespoon peanut or canola oil to the wok and heat over medium-high to high heat. Add the tangerines and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage. Cook and stir until the cabbage is tender-crisp, about 4-5 minutes.

5. Return the pork to the pan. Add the Asian sweet chili sauce, cinnamon, scallions, cashews and remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Cook and stir until the liquids come to a boil and thicken slightly. Serve with rice.

Makes about 4 servings.

Other recipes like this one: Spicy Chicken Stir Fry, Szechuan Broccoli and Water Chestnut Stir Fry, Root Vegetable and Cabbage Stir Fry with Ginger and Lemon

One year ago: Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Two years ago: Spicy Chicken Stir Fry

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