Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weeknight Meal: Easy Pork & Veggie Stir-Fry

I don't know about you, but stir-frys always make me anxious.  There's just something about the fast-paced, high-heat cooking and the pressure to have everything in a dish with more than 5 main ingredients turn out perfectly all at once.

This dish has none of that stress and it's so easy you can make it for a weeknight meal like we did this week.  How do I do it?  The secret is to cook each item pretty much separately and not use a stir-fry technique.  At the last minute, you combine all the ingredients together in the sauce.  Sure, it's not a real stir-fry, but it tastes so good, we won't tell the guy at the Chinese restaurant what we did--it'll just be between you and me.

Pork & Veggie Stir-Fry
- 1 boneless pork cutlet (or boneless pork chop--same thing)
- 1/2 of a red pepper
- A handful of fresh or frozen green beans
- 1/2 of a vidalia onion, sliced (optional)
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- The ingredients for my Asian Vegetable Sauce

1) Butterfly (slice in half along the equator) the pork cutlet so that you have two thin pieces.  Using a meat mallet or a heavy sauce pan, pound the pork even thinner until it's about 1/4-inch thick.  The Italians call this "scallopini."
2) Slice each thin cutlet into 1/4-inch strips.
3) Slice the pepper into 1/4-inch strips
4) Slice the onion into 1/2-inch petals
5) Pull the green beans out of the freezer--no need to defrost.  If using fresh, wash and take the ends off.
6) Heat your largest skillet over medium-high heat with about two tablespoons of oil in it.  Once the pan and the oil are hot, add the onions.  Saute the onions, stirring often.  Try not to brown them...just get them to begin to soften.  Adjust the heat as needed.  When the onions are soft but not limp, scoop them into a bowl.
7) Next, repeat the process with the peppers.  Add a little more oil and a pinch of salt (the salt helps bring the moisture out).  Add the cooked peppers to the bowl.
8) Next, saute the pork strips, this time adding salt and pepper to season the meat.  Cook through but don't overcook it.  Add it to the bowl.
9) Last but not least, prepare the Asian vegetable sauce as per the recipe.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the green beans.  Once the green beans are cooked (if fresh) or heated through (if frozen), add all of the other items back to the pan, including any juice in the bottom of the bowl.
10) Toss everything to coat in the sauce and serve over white rice.

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