Sweet & Sour Pork Stir Fry

The ingredient list for this homemade takeout dish may sound very familiar. I was trying to use up all of my leftovers from making my white bean and greens soup and decided to make a stir fry. If you’re not into pork, this meal would also be very good with turkey bacon and chicken breast. Depending on what leftovers you have in the fridge, you can make some easy substitutions to the vegetables.

What really makes this stir fry is the homemade sweet and sour sauce. You can alter the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your personal taste, and play around with the vinegar versus the sugar. I found the proportions below to be just perfect for my palate. Because I used regular soy sauce and chicken stock versus low-sodium versions, I did not add any other salt to the dish. The peanuts I have were also pre-salt-and-peppered.

Sweet & Sour Pork Stir Fry

For the Sweet & Sour Sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes

For the Stir Fry:

  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds pork chops, cut into strips
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch of escarole, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts

To make the sauce, combine all ingredients over low heat until sugar has melted in. Set aside but cover to keep warm.

Heat a Dutch oven and add the bacon until it becomes just crispy. Remove the bacon to a paper towel and set aside. Using the rendered backing fat, cook the pork strips through, roughly 3-5 minutes depending on thickness, and set aside. Keep the bacon and pork covered so they stay warm.

Use the bacon and pork fat to soften the leeks, onion, and red pepper. If there seems to be too much fat, you can drain some before adding the vegetables. Cook until they soften, but don’t brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the grated garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the vegetables and set aside, keeping warm.

Add the cabbage and escarole to the pot, deglazing with the white wine. Cover and cook the greens down until they are wilted and tender. This can take 7-10 minutes depending on the cabbage. When the greens are ready, stir in the cooked vegetables and meat along with the peanuts. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the top and stir to combine flavors. Serve warm and watch the meal disappear!

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