Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bourbon Brined Chops, Sesame Noodles and Mou Shu Pork!

Patty of Springdell Farm
Another week gone with my pork share! With the incredibly lean chops I made Maple Glazed Pork Chops and Bourbon Brined Chops. I  also made Sesame Noodles with Pork and Mou Shu Pork with Cantonese Pancakes.
The Sesame Noodles and Mou Shu are recipes that are very adaptable. Add broccoli, beans, bok choy or whatever you have about to the Sesame Noodles. The key is to slice them very thinly and keep them crisp. Mou Shu is also versatile- don't be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. If you don't have black mushrooms, use fresh shitake mushrooms. If you don't have bean sprouts, use bok choy or cabbage or even green beans.

Bourbon Brined Pork Chops with Bourbon Glaze
For the brine:
3 cups water
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
one cup bourbon
4 thick pork chops
1. Combine the water, salt and brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let cool to lukewarm and add the bourbon. Add the chops and let brine in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.
2. To cook chops, remove them from the brine and pat dry. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy skillet and brown the chops until golden – about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a baking sheet and place in oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze.
For the glaze:
1 small onion or 2 shallots
1 clove garlic
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Finely dice the onion or shallots and finely mince the garlic. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onion. Saute over low heat until translucent. Turn the heat to high and cook until the onion begins to brown.
2. Add the bourbon, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove all the browned bits. Reduce the heat and add the maple syrup. Cook, stirring, until thickened.
3. Pour over the chops and serve.

Mou Shu Pork
Mandarin Pancakes (below)
Hoisin Sauce
1- 1/2 pound boneless pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
6 large dried black mushrooms
2 scallions
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon soy sauce (light or dark)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of white pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups bean sprouts
1/2 cup chicken broth or water

1. Prepare the Mandarin Pancakes, below.
2. Shred pork into slivers. Toss with cornstarch, salt, soy sauce, sugar and white pepper. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
3. Soak the mushrooms in hot water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, rinse in water and drain again. Remove and discard the stems and cut the caps into thin slices. Cut green onions into 2 inch pieces. Mix water, 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon soy sauce.
4. Heat a wok or large skillet until 1 or 2 drops of water bubble and skitter when sprinkled into the wok. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix egg, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dash of white pepper; pour into wok. Rotate the wok to coat the bottom with egg. Fry the egg until firm, turning once, about 10 seconds. Remove the egg from the wok; cut into thin strips.
5. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to wok. Add the garlic and stir-fry until brown. Add the pork and stir-fry until no longer pink. Add mushrooms and bamboo shoots; stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook and stir until thickened, about 10 seconds. Add green onions and egg strips. Cook and stir 30 seconds.
6. To serve, each person takes a pancake and spreads it with hoisin sauce, then spoons about 1/4 cup pork mixture into center. Fold two opposite sides over filling, overlapping edges about 1/2-inch in center. Fold one unfolded edge over folded sides to form a pocket.
Mandarin Pancakes:
2 –1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
sesame oil as needed

1. Mix the flour and water with a fork until dough holds together. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Shape the dough into an 8-inch roll (like the ‘snakes’ you used to make with playdoh). Cut the roll into eight 1” slices. Cut each slice into halves. Cover the pieces of dough with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
2. Shape each of 2 pieces of dough into a ball. Flatten slightly and then roll each ball of dough into a 4” circle on a lightly floured surface. Brush the top of one circle with sesame oil; top with remaining circle. Roll each double circle into a 7-inch circle, sprinkling the surface with flour sparingly, as needed. Repeat with remaining pieces.
3. Heat an ungreased skillet over medium heat until warm. Cook one circle at a time, turning frequently, until the pancake is blistered with air pockets, turns slightly translucent and feels dry. Do not overcook the pancake or it will become brittle. Carefully separate the 2 pancakes. Repeat each step with remaining circles.

Szechwan Noodles with Sesame Sauce

1/2 cup (or more) water
1/2 cup smooth sesame tahini
2 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound fettuccini
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large pork chop
1 red bell pepper
1 large carrot
2 to 3 scallions
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Peel and mince the garlic and chop the peanuts. Slice the pork into thin slivers. Cut the bell pepper and carrot into matchstick slices. Finely chop the scallions.
2. Mix 1/2 cup of water, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili-garlic sauce and minced garlic in medium bowl to blend well (sauce will be thick). Set aside.
3. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss the noodles with one tablespoon of oil in a large bowl.
4. Saute the pork strips in the remaining tablespoon of oil until no longer pink.
5. Add the bell pepper, carrot and pork to the noodles. Toss with enough peanut sauce to coat. Sprinkle with scallions, peanuts and sesame seeds.

Next week: What I did with a huge ham steak!

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