Stir-Fry Pork with Vegetables and Black Bean Chili Garlic Sauce


Stir-Fry Pork with Vegetables and Black Bean Chili Garlic SauceThis is a recipe loosely based on one by Fuchsia Dunlop, from her book Every Grain of Rice. The sauce represented here is intensely dark, rich and fragrant; elevated by the Laoganma black bean chili oil.  Look for it in large Asian markets – it is an amazing product. Enjoy!

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 oz. ground pork with a decent amount of fat
1” chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 large shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1” planks
handful of snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
1/4 large red onion, cut in wedges
1/2 yellow bell pepper, sliced in 1” pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in 1” pieces
1 large scallion, trimmed and cut in 2” sections at a bias

FOR THE SAUCE:
1 heaping tbs. Laoganma® Chili Oil with Black Bean
1/2 tsp. Lee Kum Kee® Black Bean Garlic Sauce
1/2 cup beef stock
1 tbs. dark soy sauce
1 tbs. Shaoxing wine
1 tsp. Gold Plum® Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorns*, toasted in a mortar
1 tsp. sesame oil

1 cup Thai Jasmine rice
2 tbs. canola oil, divided

 

DIRECTIONS:

Cut, measure and prepare all ingredients so you have them ready, and at hand.
Prepare the sauce by adding everything except the Laoganma chili oil and sesame oil to a small mixing bowl. Mix well.

Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add 1 tbs. canola oil and swirl the wok to coat. Add the ground pork and stir-fry with a long-handled Chinese spatula until no longer pink and the surface starts to brown. Drain and set the pork aside. Discard the fat from the wok.

Add the remaining canola oil to the wok and stir to coat. Add the Laoganma chili oil, the ginger and garlic. Quickly stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, carrot and snow peas. Stir-fry until crisp-tender and the surfaces start to char. Add the sauce mixture and stir, scraping to deglaze the wok. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the pork back to the wok.

Add the chopped scallion and stir for about a minute until it is just wilted. Add the sesame oil. Remove the wok from the heat and serve with jasmine rice.

To prepare the rice:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a 2.5 quart heavy stock pot. Add the jasmine rice and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and the surface starts to show pock marks. Cover and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff and serve. Time the rice so it is done when you are done with the stir-fry.

Serves 2.

*A note on the Szechuan peppercorns: These may be hard to find, but they add such a unique flavor to this dish. They are not true peppercorns, but actually the seed pods from the Asian prickly ash shrub. Toast one level teaspoon in a small cast-iron skillet over medium heat until they just start to smell fragrant. Shake them occasionally so they don’t scorch. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a mortar. Lightly grind by hand until the pods are crushed. Discard the hard black seeds, as they are very gritty. Run through a fine mesh screen and discard the larger pieces. Keep the fine powder in a small airtight spice jar stored in your fridge. It will last about a week before the flavor starts to fade. These peppercorns produce a numbing sensation on your tongue, which is caused by the active compound hydroxy alpha sanshool. The spice is widely used in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, China and Northern India.

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Pico de Gallo Salsa


Pico de Gallo Salsa | Culinary Compost Recipes

 

This is a classic chopped salsa which means “Beak of the Rooster” in Spanish. It is traditionally quite spicy due to the serrano chilis. You will not find it this way in most restaurants, as they invariably default to a very mild salsa for mass appeal, which I think is a big mistake. Chop the ingredients by hand using a very sharp knife. You’ll need that keen edge so you can ensure precise cuts and not risk mashing the tomatoes. Also ensure the ingredients are chopped uniformly, so the color and texture stand out. Let sit for a half hour before serving so the flavors have time to incorporate. If you must put it in the fridge, do so only after trying to use most of it — the cold kills the flavor and texture, and it sadly won’t be as good the next day.

Enjoy – this is a classic that I serve with many recipes. It never fails to please.


INGREDIENTS:

2 medium-sized plum tomatoes
10 garden cherry tomatoes, preferably yellow/orange for color contrast
1 cup loose-packed cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 large serrano chilis – fired using a propane torch
2 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1 tsp. salt, to taste
Dash of fresh-squeezed lime juice, to taste


DIRECTIONS:

Cut the ingredients into 1/4″ sized chunks. Do not use a food processor. Place in a mixing bowl. Stem and fire the serrano chilis. Then coarsely-chop them and leave the seeds intact.
Crush and finely-mince the garlic. Add with the salt and lime juice.  Toss gently and let stand at room temperature before serving.

NOTE: You may need to remove a bit of the water left after standing for 1/2 hour. This is a normal reaction to salt. Compensate by adding a bit more lime juice after this separation.

Makes just over two cups.

Salsa de Chili Pequin


Salsa de Chili Pequin | Culinary Compost

This is an authentic salsa that originated in the Sonoran desert of Northern Mexico. It is popular in Arizona and New Mexico due to the availability of the hot dried chili pequin pepper. The pepper is a close relative of the very small chiltepin pepper — essentially from the same cultivar; Capsicum Annuum var. Glabriusculum. If you have dried chiltepin peppers on hand, feel free to use those instead — they tend to be more spicy.

My recipe is extremely hot – adjust the heat to your preference.  You may use a propane torch or your oven broiler to blacken the cherry tomatoes. Don’t skip this step, as it’s critical to achieving the smoky, charred flavor that makes this dish so special.

Let stand for an hour in the fridge before serving. En Fuego!

 

Ingredients:

30 cherry tomatoes, washed and drained in cold water.
3/4 cup loose trimmed cilantro leaves
3 small handfuls dried chili pequin peppers (about four tbs.)
4 cloves garlic with husks on
1 tbs. Bragg’s Organic apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt, to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp. dried ground Mexican oregano
1 tsp. dried ground coriander seed
up to 3 tbs. cold water (use more if needed)

 

Directions:

Wash thirty small, fresh cherry tomatoes and set aside. Wash and trim the fresh cilantro leaves.

Heat a small, heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the dried pequin peppers. Toast lightly, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Remove from heat. Toast the garlic in the husks using the same manner. The garlic will take longer to toast. Remove when slightly charred, and then peel.

In a heavy eight-inch cast-iron skillet, blacken the cherry tomatoes with a propane torch. Use extreme caution – when possible use this technique outdoors to prevent a fire hazard. Stir occasionally to ensure they are evenly blackened. Remove from the skillet and place in a blender with the cilantro, toasted pequin chili, the garlic, vinegar, salt and ground black pepper. Add the ground coriander and Mexican oregano.

Pulse until smooth. Add a bit of cold water if you need to. Remove and let stand in your refrigerator for one hour before serving.

 

Makes just over one cup.
Heat level: 8

 

Toasted Chili Pequin and Garlic | Culinary Compost

Toasted chili pequin and garlic in a cast-iron skillet.

Blackening Cherry Tomatoes | Culinary Compost

Blackening cherry tomatoes in a cast-iron skillet, using a propane torch.

Thai Panang Curry Beef


Thai Panang Beef | Culinary Compost Recipes

Panang (Phanaeng) curry beef is one of my favorite Thai dishes. A local restaurant makes it very hot at my request; although traditionally, it is not as spicy as red Thai curry. Regarding the preparation, it may seem counter-intuitive to drop the raw meat in the sauce and simmer it, instead of flash-frying it first, but this is the authentic way to prepare it. Either method works well.

This recipe, like many from Thailand, doesn’t require intense heat for cooking, so you can use any commercially-made wok on a kitchen stovetop, with great results. I prefer to use a 14-pound Lodge cast-iron wok on my charcoal grill, but a ceramic glass stovetop works just as well. The wok heats very evenly, and provides a lot of surface area to work with. It is one of my favorite kitchen tools. You can also use a deep, heavy skillet.

The dish is traditionally served without vegetables, but I gotta have some color working with that spicy mojo, so I always add red pepper and a contrasting green vegetable like pea-pods or green beans. Thinly-sliced serrano or Thai chilies also work well. The addition of crushed peanuts to the sauce is very traditional, influenced by Indian cuisine. You may omit them if you choose. An excellent source regarding the history of this dish can be found here. Miranti knows her stuff!

Control the heat by the amount of curry and cayenne you add. The preparation is very quick, so have everything ready and accessible before you start.

Here’s my version – Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

1 lb. Angus flank or prime tenderloin steak, cut against the grain at a bias in 1/4″ thin strips
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup beef broth
4 tbs. Panang or red curry paste (the red curry is more spicy)
3 tbs. fish sauce, to taste
2-3 tbs. dark brown sugar, to taste
1 red bell or hot red chili, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
A handful of fresh pea-pods or green beans
1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Ground cayenne or Thai birds-eye chili pepper, to taste
dash of lime juice, about two tbs.
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
Cooked Thai jasmine rice

 

Directions:

Hit both sides of the beef filet with a needle tenderizer. Slice into 1/4″ strips against the grain and trim away the excess fat. Preheat the wok over medium heat. Add one-half of the can of coconut milk and stir until the fat starts to separate out, about three minutes. Add the curry paste. Cook, stirring for an additional three minutes until fragrant. Add the sliced steak. Stir to coat and cook until the exterior of the steak is no longer pink.

Add the rest of the coconut milk, the beef broth, the fish sauce, the brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir to incorporate and increase the heat on the wok. Bring to a rolling boil.

Next, add the red pepper, onion and pea-pods or green beans. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be very thick at this point and reduced by half.

Shut off the heat, stir in the basil and lime juice, the crushed peanuts, and serve immediately over jasmine rice.

Serves 2-4

NOTE: Traditionally, kaffir lime leaves are also called for. They are impossible to find in my area. They impart a very different flavor than basil, so if you can find them, give it a try by adding a few that are finely cut into strips.

When preparing the rice, do not add salt; the curry and fish sauce are loaded with it.

Thai Panang Beef | Culinary Compost Recipes

Thai Panang Beef | Culinary Compost Recipes

Thai Panang Curry Beef Recipe | Culinary Compost

Johnsonville® Chiliville Chili


If I stumble across a great recipe, I’ll test and share it with my fellow bloggers. Here’s one for you chiliheads – it’s a great seasonal recipe that my wife found in Taste of Home Magazine. It was on a full page ad featuring Johnsonville Italian sausage — a legendary product made right here in Eastern Wisconsin.

My family loved the recipe. My wife and I both agreed that in the future we would reduce the brown sugar* by half. The exact published measurement is shown here. Other than that, it was excellent. You’ll note that the preparation is simple and doesn’t take a lot of time to set up; this is a plus for busy families, as my made-from-scratch chili recipes are quite time consuming.

 

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. package Johnsonville ground mild sweet or hot Italian sausage
3 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions
2 cans (16 oz. each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 tbs. brown sugar*
2 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
shredded Sargento® cheddar cheese

Directions:

In a 5-quart Dutch oven, cook the sausage and ground beef over medium heat until meat is browned. Drain off fat. Stir in onion, celery and garlic. Cook and stir until tender.

Add the tomatoes, kidney beans, broth, tomato paste, sugar, chili powder, worchestershire sauce, cumin and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with shredded cheese.

Serves 4-6

Mike’s Firecracker Beef Stir-Fry with Broccoli, Scallion


Firecracker Beef with Broccoli and Scallion

 

This Asian recipe can be quite hot – adjust the chilies according to your preference. Your wok must reach a temperature hot enough to quickly sear the steak and flash-fry the vegetables. I’ve found that cooking indoors on a stove just doesn’t accomplish this task. A charcoal grill and a cast-iron wok are perfect.
I use prime cuts of New York strip steak to ensure optimum flavor and tenderness.

Enjoy – this recipe is killer.

Ingredients:

1 10-oz. New York strip steak
10 small dry Thai chilies
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbs. brown sugar

1 head broccoli, trimmed
10 fresh market green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
4 scallions, trimmed and quartered, then split lengthwise
1 green or red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2″ strips
1 large carrot, peeled and quartered, then cut into thin planks

2 cups beef broth
2 tbs. corn starch

2 cups 5-minute rice, cooked according to package directions
Peanut oil

Directions:

Using a very sharp knife, trim the steak of excess fat. Cut into 1/4″ strips against the grain. Cut in half if the length of each strip is too long. Whisk the brown sugar and soy sauce in a small mixing bowl. Place steak in a 1-qt. ziplock bag with the soy sauce mixture, garlic and hot Thai chilies. Seal and let stand for 3 hours in your refrigerator. Rotate occasionally.

Wash, prep and cut all of your veggies so you have them ready. Allow all ingredients to stand at room temperature before cooking.

Prepare an outdoor charcoal gril with enough coal for a medium-hot fire. When the coals are white hot, place the wok on the grill grate. Do not spread out the coals – you will need the heat concentrated directly under the wok so the steak sears properly. Allow the wok to heat until a drop of water vaporizes immediately on contact.

Add 2 tbs. peanut oil to the wok and swirl to coat. When the oil starts to ripple, add the green beans, carrot and pepper and stir for about 5 minutes until just crisp-tender. Remove from heat and place in a covered serving bowl.

Remove the steak and chilies from the ziplock bag and add to the wok. Discard the soy sauce. Spread out and let sear for three minutes. Turn with a non-stick spatula and let sit another three minutes. Remove from heat and place in the covered serving dish.

Add the beef broth and corn starch mixture to the wok. Stir constantly until thickened -about two minutes. Add the scallion. Stir. Add back the steak and other vegetables and stir until just heated through. Remove from the wok and serve immediately over rice.

Serves 2-4

 

Firecracker Steak Stir-Fry - prepping the ingredients

Prepping the ingredients.

Firecracker Steak with Stir-Fry Veggies

Flash-frying the veggies.

Firecracker Beef with Stir-Fried Hot Asian Chilies

Adding the steak and chili peppers.

Bucky’s Chili


This is a recipe that I’ve been waiting eight years for. Every year we have a chili cookoff at work and Bucky’s chili is one of the first to disappear. It’s legendary. He finally parted with the recipe, due in no small part to my incessant nagging.

You’ll be amazed how great it tastes considering how simple the ingredients list is. The recipe shown makes one small batch —  you can easily double or triple it with the same results.

Ingredients:

1 pound sirloin hamburger meat (patties or coarse-ground)
1 large yellow onion
1 can Bush’s chili beans
1/2 package taco seasoning mix
Szechuan chili oil to taste

Directions:

Fry up the sirloin in a heavy skillet or pot with the chili oil. When rendered and the meat is no longer pink, add the onion and fry until tender. Add the taco seasoning and mix well. Add more chili oil if needed. Simmer partially covered for two hours on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the chili beans, mix and simmer until just heated through.

Serve with shredded cheese and chopped scallion.

Serves 2-4