Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fantastic Fabiola's Orient(al) Pork - A Fast "Slow Food" Dish with a Taste of The Orient

Darlings!  This is an updated dish.  The Fab posted it first, sometime in 2007, but she (because The Fab almost never measures) titled it as ...

Orient(al) Pork - A Recipe For Folk Who Already Know How to Cook

 ... meaning that The Fab didn't measure, so she couldn't write down how much of each ingredient you would need to make this dish.  The Fab has seen the error of her ways (and  bought actual measuring cups and spoons) so, with a flourish she presents ...

Orient(al) Pork  - A Recipe For Any Folk

This is an aside Darlings:  Orient(al) as in Orient Correctional Institution - Fabiola first created this recipe on the evening following a visit to a former beau. This beau became "former" just prior to gaining the new title of "inmate" at that medium security facility. The visit has nothing to do with the dish, other than after spending a day traveling and hearing heavy metal gates crash behind one, a gal wants a dinner that is both fast and pleasantly aromatic.

Anyway -
Ingredients in order of use:
Pork - 3 pounds (or so) - Cut in 1/2" Cubes (The Fab bought one of those pre-packed pork loins it was about 3 pounds) - of course Dears, you can substitute chicken prepared the same way.  Dark meat or white, or both, doesn't matter.
Oil -- 1/4 cup Enough to coat the bottom of your pan
Regarding the cooking oil, use whatever kind you prefer: Lard, Butter, EVOO, Peanut, Corn, Vegetable -Fabiola uses Peanut Oil - (ahem), but if Fabiola recommended that - some would jump up and down shouting and waving their arms like they just got a Bingo and the words they would be shouting -- "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" - you know who you are.
Garlic Powder  - 1/2 teaspoon
Onion Powder  - 1 teaspoon or a small onion diced fine (no matter which you use- the powder is just easier)
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon (more or less to taste)
Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon (again more or less to taste - start with this much)
Celery Seed, Crushed  - 1/4 teaspoon (if you don't have celery seed substitute 1/4 cup real celery diced fine)
Light Sesame Oil  - 2 tablespoons 
Dark Brown Sugar - 1/2 cup packed 
Maple Syrup - 2 or 3 Tablespoons (more or less) -- you can omit this item it only adds a layer of flavor dears.  No matter if you don't have any. Fabiola uses real Maple Syrup Boiled Down from actual Maple Tree Sap Only - seriously, if all you have is the flavored corn syrup kind, make pancakes.
Blackstrap Molasses - 1 or 2 tablespoons  Again an optional item, it adds flavor depth, but the world will not end if you don't add it. But, your Grandmother was right, it IS good for you. Use it more.
Nutmeg - just a sprinkle (like the two previous items, add it if you have it, don't worry if you don't)
Maggi Sweet Chili Sauce (1/2 of a 10.1 oz Bottle) There is no substitute for this item, it is beyond wonderful.
Rice - The Fab uses Knor Chicken Flavored rice, because it is fast and easy.  There is no reason that you can't, and a lot of good reasons that you should, use real brown or white rice that you steam.  What are those reasons? Fewer calories, less salt, less processing, more nutrients. And the Fab would never tell anyone this, but she likes the nutty flavor of the brown rice, but others in the household don't. Sigh.


CUBE Pork, - Never cubed a pork?  Here is how:
This is one side of the pork loin, flip it over  and you may find shiny connective tissue covered with a thin layer of fat.  This connective tissue should be taken off, or you will end up with some pieces of pork that have a tough chewy edge.  Not saying that you HAVE TO just suggesting that you should dears.  Takes only minutes.
Pull up a corner of the membrane with the knife, pull and slice until you have removed the membrane.  Discard the membrane and fat. Or, zap it in the microwave until it is cooked through, cool then ...  toss it out the window to the barn cats. You would never feed raw pork to an animal would you?  Of course you wouldn't Dears.
Slice the loin into 1/2 inch slices like in the photo, then stack 2 or three together, slice lengthwise into 1/2 x 1/2 inch strips, then cut the strips into cubes. This whole process is faster if the pork is still slightly frozen. Once you have the strips, you may find it easier to use your kitchen shears to make the cubes.
A 3 pound pork loin makes about 8 cups of cubes.
Once your pork is cubed ...
SPRINKLE with Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Pepper, Crushed Celery Seed, TOSS.
HEAT Oil in Fry Pan - Medium Heat (you knew that) - Just a minute or so then add the pork cubes to the pan.   Lightly BROWN Pork Cubes In Oil. This took about 15 minutes, with The Fab stirring and breaking up the pork 3 or 4 times.  The Fab also used the cover for her fry pan to speed the cooking of the pork. Quick note Darlings, it is easy to overcook pork - that will make it tough and dry.  You are shooting for cooked through (no pink left) with just a touch of golden color on the outside. To be certain that the meat is cooked The Fab takes a cube or two out of the pan and cuts them in half.  No pink = done.
ADD Light Sesame Oil, TOSSADD Brown Sugar, Blackstrap Molasses, Maple Syrup, Nutmeg, Chili Sauce,TOSS.
SIMMER UNCOVERED until the sauce has reduced slightly.   This takes about 10 minutes, 
SERVE over Rice.
Now Darlings, The Fab made this dish for dinner tonight.  It was delish.  Of course as it is just Mary, The Fab and Crabby Guy here, half of this dish went right into the freezer for another day.  Orient(al) Pork freezes and reheats nicely.
1.  Why yes!  The fry pan with a heavy lid that I am using instead of my trusty cast iron is a Pampered Chef pan.  They   Are   Wonderful.  Heavy, even heating, tight fitting lid. The Fab  loves, loves, loves hers!  Now, I am not telling you what to do Dears but my Pampered Chef Kitchen Consultant is  Robin and she is a darling.  No, really. Poke on the link talk to her.  So much joy should not be possible in a real person.