Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Pork stir fry, braised bok choy with brown rice

We love our CSA, but we can only eat so much bok choy. This year we’ve receive quite a lot. This sent me off to find a recipe to use up a whole head. I came across a recipe for Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry, and as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I added bell pepper and mushroom. I also used fresh ginger. Finally, I let the bok choy stand on its own by braising separately rather than in the stir fry.

The most interesting notes on this recipe were using cornstarch in the sauce which thickened it up and helped it stick to the pork and vegetables and the braising of bok choy in rice wine vinegar. I really liked this. Each component was tasty but the whole was delicious.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 pork cutlets, sliced through on a bias into pieces
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced (I used button)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bok choy
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used instant, shame on me)
Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, add the wine, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch and whisk until smooth, set aside.
  2. Heat a large pan or wok over medium to medium high heat. Add enough canola oil to just cover. Add pork and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
  4. Add carrots, bell pepper and mushroom. Toss to combine and stir fry for approximately 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the pork and vegatables.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the bottom off the bok choy stock. Strip the leafy greens, then thinly slice the white part of the stocks. The smaller interior stocks I left whole.
  7. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and toss in the smashed garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse the oil.
  8. Next, add the chopped white stems of the bok choy and the crushed red pepper. Cook until slightly softened and add the leafy parts of the bok choy. Toss to combine and add the rice wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook until all is tender.
  9. Prepare the rice per instructions on the box.
  10. Enjoy.
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Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

I love red beans and rice. Strangely enough, what got me hooked on this wasn’t some fancy restaurant in Louisiana. It was Bojangles Chicken and Biscuits, a fast food restaurant. I don’t eat fast food anymore but if I did it would be at Bojangles. Their spicy fried chicken and their biscuits are awesome but what I really love is their sides. Back in the day, I would get a side of red beans and a side of their dirty rice (has chunks of spicy sausage) and I would mix them together. I’m telling you it is delicious. Not healthy by any means but delicious and that was the inspiration.

Comments on the Dish

You don’t need the shrimp. They were a safety precaution because my wife was afraid “just beans” wouldn’t be filling enough. I used canned beans. You can soak your own if you like, it would probably be better, but I’ve been there and done that. Also, I never made cornbread from a mix but my wife loves Jiffy. It is a little to sweet for me but she likes it and it is super easy. I recommend using 2 eggs (the recipe calls for one), which makes the muffins much more moist. I also use buttermilk instead of milk.

This one is going into the regular rotation. Tasty, fast and was great as leftovers. I recommend trying it. If you don’t eat meat, leave the andouille and shrimp out and add a little more seasoning.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 andouille sausage links (or 3 if you like), diced into 1/5 inch pieces
  • 2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 celery stems, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I always prefer San Marzano if you can find them)
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • Cajun or Creole seasoning (I prefer Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning)
  • 1 package of long-grain, brown rice
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • Crushed red pepper flake
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix (don’t judge, my wife loves it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Buttermilk
  • 1.5 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
Directions

  1. First the cornbread mix. Add the ingredients of the Jiffy packet, the 2 eggs, 3/4 of the pepper-jack cheese and buttermilk to a mixing bowl and fold together. Don’t over mix. Set aside.
  2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the andouille. Cook until browned and rendered, then remove. Next and the Holy Trinity (onion, bell pepper and celery) and cook until almost transparent and the add the garlic, Cajun seasoning and crushed red pepper (to taste). Continue cooking a few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomato and 1/4 of the red beans. Using a spoon or masher, mash the beans. Mash them good. Add the remaining red beans, anouille and oregano and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally and add more liquid if needed. If you like it thicker, use less liquid. Taste and re-season if needed with salt.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Spray a muffin tin and fill each up about half way with the cornbread mixture. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake until the tops are brown.
  5. Cook the rice per the package, except I replaced half the water with chicken stock. I didn’t use the instant rice so it took 20 minutes.
  6. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss the shrimp in Cajun seasoning and saute until they start to curl and turn opaque. Don’t over cook.
  7. To plate, put the rice down, add your beans and rice and top with shrimp. It would have looked better if I would have had some parsley but oh well. Enjoy!
Cajun Red Beans and Rice with Pepper-jack Cornbread

Quick Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Brown Rice

quick shrimp and andouille gumbo

We love gumbo, who doesn’t? This one is easy enough to make on a week night.

I’ve made so many versions of this, some take hours, but I’ll be honest this one is my favorite. Super-fast, rich, spicy and very satisfying, I recommend this one folks. I use San Marzano tomatoes, the smoked paprika and clam juice to add some depth. The fresh oregano and thyme also make a huge difference in this version. I think if this was one of those gumbos that simmered for hours I wouldn’t suggest the fresh herbs, but in this one it really works. Finally, the Filé powder and parsley finishes it off. You can find the Filé powder in most grocery stores now, it is delicious. I served this up with some cornbread, but crusty bread would do as well. Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large Andouille link, cut length-wise then across into ¼ slices
  • 1 large can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh okra (or frozen if you must), cut in half inch pieces
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups no salt chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons clam juice
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s is my preference), to taste
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons, oil (I used a mix of canola and olive)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon smoke paprika
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • Flat leaf parsley and Filé powder to garnish
Directions

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Whisk in flour and continue whisking until the roux turns dark tan (or brown if you dare).
  2. Reduce heat to medium low and add onion, celery and bell pepper. Cook until softened. Add okra and cook for another minute.
  3. Remove three or four (depending on their size) of the whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes and crush them into the pot with your hand. Reserve the rest of the tomatoes for something else (pasta sauce).
  4. Now add the bay leaves, paprika, oregano and thyme. Cover and cook for another few minutes.
  5. Add stock and Andouille, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. With about 3 to 4 minutes left, add your shrimp. I took the gumbo off the heat and just let the shrimp cook slowly. Don’t overcook the shrimp.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare rice according to the instruction on the package. I used brown rice that took 15 minutes.
  8. To serve, mound the rice in the middle of a large bowl, pour the gumbo around the rice, top with fresh parsley and Filé powder. Enjoy.
Quick Shrimp and Andouille Gumbo with Brown Rice

Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Jasmine Edamame Rice

I was in the mood for Asian food and the pork tenderloin looked good that day (and was on sale), so I made ginger marinated pork tenderloin. I have made this before starting from a base ginger-marinated pork recipe from Gourmet magazine.

I was feeling in a healthy mood so I wanted some rice to accompany the pork and jasmine rice sounded nice. You’ll see below this is an Asian influenced rice, but the idea came from a local Persian restaurant called Pomegranate on Main (a favorite lunch and dinner spot). They have this amazing basmati rice with lima beans, light, citrus-y, awesome. Well, Jen doesn’t like lima beans and this was after all an Asian style meal so I came up with Jasmine edamame rice.

On the pork recipe, I don’t really do much varying. I added a little more garlic and ginger (Jen and I love garlic and ginger). I only cooked my tenderloin to 145 degrees and let it get to 155 with carry over cooking as it rested. I am acutely aware of how easily pork can become tough and I much prefer a little pink then dryness. I also add a little less brown sugar which I might normally omit entirely but it gives the pork a really nice caramelization and helps thicken the sauce. Speaking of the sauce, WOW! I don’t normally strain my sauces but in the case make sure you do, it ends up shiny and perfect. Also, I reduced my sauce for probably 30 minutes, longer then the recipe calls for.

On the rice, you pretty much follow the recipe of a box of jasmine rice. You could use regular rice and omit the coconut milk, but I was craving both. Make sure your mint is fresh, the dry stuff won’t work here. I also recommend fresh lemon. Start with one lemon taste it, then add more for a more citrus-y taste. Finally, I would definetly season with salt and pepper, it was a little bland without it. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS
For Pork:

  • 1 2/3 cups chicken broth (13 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 (3/4 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For Rice:

  • I package uncooked jasmine rice
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen edamame
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped mint
  • salt & pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS

  1. Whisk together 2/3 cup broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, and vinegar and pour into a large sealable plastic bag. Add tenderloin and seal bag, then marinate, chilled, turning bag over occasionally, 2 hours.
  2. Bring tenderloin to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  3. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
  4. Pat tenderloin dry and reserve marinade. Heat oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown tenderloin on all sides, turning with tongs, about 3 minutes total. Transfer skillet to oven and roast pork until thermometer inserted diagonally into center of meat registers 155°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered with foil, 10 minutes.
  5. While meat is roasting, pour marinade through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan and boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in remaining cup broth and bring sauce to a simmer. Serve slices of tenderloin with sauce.
  6. Cook the rice per directions except replace 1 1/4 cups of the water with coconut milk. A few minutes before the rice is done mix in the frozen edamame. Just before serving, drop the fresh mint and lemon juice in and fluff the rice. Taste the rice and season with salt and pepper.
Ginger-Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Jasmine Edamame Rice