There are a couple of reasons I prepared this wonderful pork dish last night. I love to cook, and would attempt to make dinner even if one of my arms was hanging off! This may be a slight exaggeration, but, my point is that I try to prepare an evening meal no matter what is going on around me. A more realistic situation is what happened last night. I came home to a messy kitchen as I hadn’t time to clean before I rushed out of the house that afternoon, (also doesn’t help that my dishwasher is broken, and I can’t find anyone who works on this particular model to fix it!).
I rolled up my sleeves and was just about to launch into the pile of dishes, pots and pans when I calculated by the time I got the kitchen in order, and made dinner, I would most likely find myself in a house of really hungry and therefore, very grumpy people (including myself). Would it be worth the effort it would take, or, should I make the call, and order some mediocre food and make my life easier? I decided on the latter and made the announcement, to which my son, who had chatted to me all the way home about possible dishes, gave me a look that would melt the coldest heart. I of course caved immediately and told my man Dave to clean the kitchen and I would work around him!
It still had to be something fairly quick, and lo and behold, an idea popped into my head. I had pork tenderloin which cooks in minutes if you cut it up and fry it. That was settled, and I started prepping the pork while chuckling about a conversation I had earlier with my friend Kathleen. She is this amazing woman who home-schooled all six of her children, while still managing to cook dinner every night, and, look good while doing it! Don’t you just hate people like that! Here I was complaining about feeding just two children and crying about my dishwasher. She also grew up cooking fairly simple, but good food. When she met me we would talk about what dinners we liked making, and I slowly introduced her to things that I use, and, she was up for trying anything I recommended.
One day I cooked something when she was over that she particularly loved. I told her one of the ingredients was Mirin, which is a sweetened rice wine commonly found in Japanese kitchens. It is a handy item to use in combination with soy sauce to add flavor to a quick stir-fry. The smile on my face while frantically chopping the pork was because only a few hours earlier she had been telling me how she loved reading my blog but was wondering when I would make something with mirin? She had purchased a bottle in anticipation of getting a recipe from me, and it had now sat on a shelf in her kitchen for the past two years! I felt bad about not coming through with some advice on how to use her lovely bottle of sweet syrupy liquid and decided that mirin (along with Chinese five spice powder) would be used by hook or by crook to pull this meal together.
Dinner was on the table in under 35 minutes and was fabulous. The marinade of soy, mirin, five spice powder and garlic transformed the pork into sweet, tender deliciousness. This dish is dedicated to my friend Kathleen who inspired, and guilted me into making a great dinner!
You Will Need: 1 1/2 lbs Pork tenderloin, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces, 4 tbs vegetable or peanut oil, 1 medium/large sweet onion, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1 yellow squash, thickly sliced and diced, 2 cups green beans (1 dry pint) chopped into 1/2′ pieces, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of mirin, 3/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder, 6 cups cooked basmati rice.
* Put the rice on immediately. For stove-top method use 2 1/2 cups raw rice. For Rice Cooker method, use 3 cups of rice-cooker measure. The rice will be cooked when you are ready to toss it into the cooked ingredients.
1 – Prep all vegetables and meat (meat first) as instructed above.
2 – Combine soy sauce, mirin, garlic and five spice powder in a shallow Pyrex dish and add pork. Stir everything to coat, and set aside for 20 minutes.
3 – Put big saute pan or wok on medium/high heat and add 2 tbs vegetable or peanut oil. Wait for 3 minutes to let the pan and oil get hot. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the green beans and continue to cook and stir for another 3 minutes before adding the squash. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes until the vegetables are soft but still toothsome (still have a crunch).
4 – Scrape vegetables form the pan into a bowl and set aside.
5 – Add 1 tbs of oil to the pan and turn heat up to high. Using a slotted spoon (so the meat drains from the marinade) add 1/2 of the meat to the pan and stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate or bowl and add 1 tbs of oil to pan and fry the second batch, (save the marinade). When it has cooked, add the rest of the meat and vegetable to the pan. Stir in the rice and pour the reserved marinade over everything and stir quickly. When everything is hot, turn off heat.
Let everyone help themselves or divide between warm shallow bowls and serve.