Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One pan sweet-and-sour pork

The weather has finally turned a bit cooler where I live (not to mention wetter, thanks to hurricane season) and I've been inspired by some yummy recipes I've read lately.  Armed with a little creativity and a smattering of great ingredients, I had hoped to create a delicious roast pork tenderloin marinated in apple cider and stuffed with wild rice, butternut squash, cranberry and apple. My family, however, had other plans.

Both my husband and my son have been taking turns with whatever flu-like illness is going around right now.  I'm fairly certain it's not H1N1 because my son is in a very high risk group and he never got it quite as bad we'd been told to expect.  Still, he was ill enough that he developed pink-eye, an ear infection and bronchitis on top of the flu.  The time I thought I would get to spend creating in the kitchen was, instead, spent wiping Nik's runny nose, taking his temperature, giving nebulizer treatments and administering a large quantity of medications —by mouth, ears and eyes.

Sadly, as many of you know, there's no rest for the mama and the show meals must go on!  I had to use the pork or lose it; it had been in the fridge past the point where I felt comfortable freezing it for later use.  I had very little time to improvise and I've been craving Chinese food for a long time now (I cannot tolerate soy) so I decided to "scratch the itch" and concocted this one-pan sweet and sour pork which is GFCF and soy free —and so easy to make!  I must warn you that I did not really measure anything; this was a seat-of-the-pants endeavor!

1 1/2 lbs pork, cubed
1 large red onion, cut into large wedges (1/6 or 1/8 slices)
1 large green pepper, cut into slender strips
1/2 pound carrots, shredded or julienned
1 can pineapple chunks
Ginger juice or ground ginger
Ground cayenne pepper
2-3 TBSP Dark brown sugar
Rice vinegar
1/4 C seasoned flour mixture (rice flour blend mixed w/ ground ginger and ground cayenne pepper, to taste)

In skillet or stock pot, brown the pork in a little bit of olive or canola oil.  If you're feeling adventurous, coat the pork in cayenne.  Add generous splashes of ginger juice (if you have it) or sprinkle with ground ginger along with some rice vinegar.  You could use soy sauce for this, too.

When the meat is done, transfer it to a bowl; you'll come back to it soon!

Toss all the veggies in the skillet/pan.  Add a slight amount of liquid to the bottom of the pan —about 1/4 inch of water, vinegar (or soy) and ginger.  Toss in brown sugar.  Stir frequently to make sure the vegetables all get coated.  Take your seasoned flour mixture and whisk it into a cup of cold water then add it to the pan.  You will think you have too much sauce in the pan.  If you don't, then add more liquid.

The flour mixture should be getting nice and thick and the onions should still have some color —don't let them get totally translucent unless you like your vegetables slightly soft.  I like to have mine slightly crunchy —al dente.

Toss in the browned pork and stir. Serve over rice. Easy peasy, right? 
For a complete meal, add some egg rolls or wonton soup, a bottle of sake and you're all set!

Some variations: 
I added some of my homemade poached plum puree for a bit of fruity tang.  (I made it for my son and had leftover.)  You could just as easily add in a little bit of applesauce.  (Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!)

Be adventurous and pair it with Kristen's delicious rice with vermicelli.

Don't like pork? Don't despair!  Substitute chicken or shrimp and you'll still have a delicious meal.  Looking for inspiration for that shrimp? Goodfountain has some yummy ideas here.

This recipe made six generous portions —enough to get two full meals and a couple of lunches for my husband to take to work.

(ETA: Disclaimer: I made my actual meal slightly differently by coating the meat in the flour mixture before browning.  The browning? Not so much. The sticky gooey mess in the pan? A LOT.  Luckily, I have pans that are a dream to clean. I DO NOT recommend this method if you are using rice flour...gets very gummy.  Trust me and do it the way I suggest...)


  1. LOL @leightongirl! You could always sub cubed tofu for the pork. Wouldn't want to be accused of trying to lead you down the primrose path. ;-)