Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chinese 5-spice pork tenderloin with schezuan green beans

I'm always so excited about trying out new recipes that I rarely make the same thing more than once. But these 2 recipes I'm sharing with you today, my friends, are probably some of the most repeated recipes in my kitchen (not counting cake...) And I've never blogged about them before! So readers, I owe you all an apology for keeping these recipes from you for all these years. I would just eat them so quickly I never had a chance to photograph their awesomeness!

So today, let me make up for my mental relapses, ok? I present to you two Asian-inspired dishes that taste fabulous separately, but work together incredibly well:

Chinese 5-spice pork tenderloin and stir-fried sichuan green beans.

Meat + Potatoes + Vegetables. It's an American meal with an Asian Twist. 

First, the pork. It's crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and bursting with TONS of flavor. Until recently, it was the only way I made pork tenderloin. I've tried a few methods over the years and never really liked them as much, so I gave up trying new recipes and always used my standby. Recently, though, I did try a more traditional herb-paired pork tenderloin (check out my previous post) and I'm glad I did- because that recipe was beyond delicious. But for some reason, this pork recipe is still my favorite (you know what they say about first loves). And it's one of the easiest and fastest recipes on my blog!

All you do is rub a ton of spice on the outside of your tenderloin (use fresh, not pre-packaged pork if you can find it), sear on all sides in a hot pan, and then stick it in a hot oven and cook for 20-30 minutes.

The outside gets this incredibly flavorful crust while the inside stays tender.

Now, the green beans. 

Can I be honest and say that these green beans may even be better than the pork? (If that's even possible...) No joke, these are the the best green beans I've had in my entire life. (Tie goes to the green beans I had at Girl and the Goat.) And it's not just like "yea, they're pretty good for a green bean." Nononononono. It's more like "holy crap these might be one of the best things I've ever eaten" They're spicy and earthy and slightly sweet and tender and crisp and oh-my-god-delicious.

They're actually from a Cooks Illustrated recipe that's not meant to be a side dish, but a main course (the recipe calls for a bit of ground pork to be added). I'll include the full recipe below, but I always end up cooking the beans sans pork and making them as the most flavorful side dish of life.

Now that the weather is cooling down and the leaves are a changin', it's time to break out those recipes that stick to your bones and warm your insides. These, my friends, are exactly those types of dishes.  

Yours in FINALLY sharing with you one of her favorite recipes (better late than never, right?),

Chinese Five-Spice Pork Tenderloin, adapted from Whole Foods

1 1/2 pound pork tenderloin
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons peanut, safflower, or another high smoke-point oil
1/3 cup hoisin sauce, optional
sliced green onions for garnish, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Put five-spice powder, dry mustard, ginger, pepper, and salt into a wide, shallow dish and mix well. Roll pork in spices to coat all over.
3. Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet, or nonstick pan, over medium high heat. Add pork and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over. (Usually ~3+ minutes per side, and I cook the top/bottom and both sides)
4. Transfer oven-safe skillet to oven, or transfer to foil lined baking sheet if using nonstick pan, and cook until pork is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. (I cook my pork to 135 - 140 degrees; you can cook it to 145 but I wouldn't suggest much more than that.)
5. Transfer pork to a cutting board, tent with foil, and set aside to let rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Meanwhile, warm hoisin sauce in a small pot if using. Cut pork into thick slices and serve hot, with a little hoisin sauce spooned over the top of each slice. Garnish with green onions.

Stir-Friend Sichuan Green Beans, from Cooks Illustrated

Note from CI and me: To make this dish vegetarian, eliminate the pork or substitute 4 ounces of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and minced, for the pork. If using mushrooms, you will need to add a teaspoon of oil to the pan in step 3 before adding the mushrooms. The cooking of this dish goes very quickly, so be sure to have all of the ingredients prepped before you start. Serve this dish with steamed white rice or as a side dish.

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry (I never have this so either eliminate or use white wine)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (I use black b/c I don't have white pepper)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (anything but olive oil, you want an oil with a high smoke point)
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces or left whole
1/4 pound ground pork
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced thin
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil, optional (I don't like sesame, so I just eliminate this)

1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins are shriveled and blackened in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.
3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes.
4. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions and sesame oil. Serve immediately.


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