Friday, August 16, 2013

szechuan green beans with ground pork




This summer has been so packed with playing and wedding and camping and weeding that I can hardly believe it is time to harvest some of the fruits of that weeding but it is! I planted two varieties of green beans this year thinking that I would see which variety performed better. Of course, I can't remember which plants were what variety (although I did make a planting map and if I took the time to check all the info is there) so the experiment would fail any scientific effort but it doesn't matter really, both varieties have excelled. In fact, I would have to say that the competition has done them both good - I have already picked a good harvest of beans and as the plants are still blossoming it is safe to say that I will pick a good deal more. That makes me happy because I love green beans!!!

It may not be terribly fashionable and is certainly old-school but my very favourite way to eat green beans is fresh from the garden, lightly steamed (crispy but not squeaky), tossed with a spoonful of superior butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. I could eat them twice a day. True story. But that is not a recipe or even a story so I'll share this:

When we went to Shanghai a few years ago a friend took me to her favourite restaurant to have her favourite dish. I loved the dish so much that we literally went back two more times that week for.... more of the same. The dish was szechuan green beans with pork - a much better pork and beans if you will. This recipe is not quite that dish but it comes close enough to make me happy. Given my devotion to green beans you may not think that much of an endorsement but you would be wrong - if this wasn't wonderful I would much rather eat my beans buttered, with salt and pepper. 

Adjust the heat to suit your preference and go nuts eating green beans fresh from the garden (or the farmer's market) while you can. I do!

szechuan green beans with ground pork

1 lb green beans, trimmed
10 oz. ground pork
2 Tbsp black bean sauce
1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 clove garlic, sliced thinly
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for two minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Whisk together the black bean sauce, hoisin sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, honey, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.

Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the grapeseed oil and ground pork, stir-frying the pork until it begins to brown. Add sliced onion and garlic; stir-fry until onion is softened. (about 3 minutes) Add green beans and sauce mixture, stir to combine with the pork and onions. Cook for a further 3 minutes or until the beans are tender-crisp. I usually add a few tablespoons of water at this point to keep things from sticking and burning.

We eat this with a bit of brown rice and go away very happy. If you like (David does) you can kill it with a healthy sprinkle of sriracha sauce. Whatever makes you happy. It is summer after all.




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