Real Food for Real Life

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

That's a spicy meatbal!


Brown basmati rice salad with baby cucumber, scallion, red and yellow bell pepper, and fresh cilantro, tossed with a ginger sesame dressing.

I love Latin American food, Mexican in particular, and my favorite meat for Mexican is puerco, or pork...I sometimes dream about carnitas and al pastor (not really, but you get the point). I also love Asian flavors, not Chinese so much as the spicy flavors of Thai and Vietnamese food, and after all, so many of the ingredients are similar, just used in different ways. Over the last week I mixed things up a bit and cooked pork with an Asian twist, rather than the Mexican inspired manner that I do so often.

There is no doubt that Ben and I like a little heat in our food, and the Vietnamese meatball sandwiches I made last week were certainly spicy. The recipe for these was one of my Recipe of the Day entries on my Yahoo page last week, and came from Epicurious.com, a very good site you should check out if you are not familiar. And if you have ever put spicy food away for another day, you know that it gets even spicier, as were the remains we had over the weekend. I served these sandwiches with a salad made of brown basmati rice tossed with a bottled sesame ginger dressing and veggies, a very nice cooling counterpoint. For dinner tonight I made the Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder that I found in this month's issue of Real Simple magazine, and was it ever so easy. Since it is an easy crockpot recipe, it would be good for a busy day. The boys loved this one, and Chris even asked for more broth to finish his rice with. I made minor adaptations to both recipes (but, of course) and are giving them to you how I made them.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi

Hot Chili Mayo:
2/3 cup light mayo
2 scallions, finely sliced
1 tbs. Siracha
Meatballs:
1 lb. ground pork
4 garlic cloves, minced (about 4 tsp)
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 tbs. fish sauce
1 tbs, Siracha
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper
Sandwiches:
1 lb. pkg. shredded slaw mix
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
1 tbs. sesame oil
4 10" individual baguettes
thinly sliced fresh jalapenos
16 large sprigs fresh cilantro

Hot Chili Mayo: Combine ingredients in a small bowl, cover and chill until needed. Meatballs: Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mix the ingredients and using moistened hands, roll scant tablespoons of the mixture into 1-inch meatballs (I got 30). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Sandwiches: One hour before serving (you want it to stay crisp), toss the first 5 ingredients together. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Slice each baguette in half horizontally and pull a little bread from the inside of each half, leaving a 1/2 inch shell. (I forgot to do this the first time and the meatballs kept falling out). Spread the mayo over each half then arrange jalapenos and cilantro on the bottom halves. Fill each with 1/4 of the meatballs and top generously with the slaw. Press on the top halves and enjoy.


Sweet & Spicy Asian Pork Shoulder

2 & 1/2 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbs. Siracha (love this stuff :)
1 tbs. finely minced garlic
1 tbs. grated fresh ginger (I used it from a jar)
coarse salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 fairly large head of bok choy, sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
cooked white or brown rice to serve (I used brown basmati)
crushed red pepper flakes and/or thinly sliced fresh jalapeno (optional)

Combine the ingredients through salt and pepper in a crockpot, cook on low 7 or 8 hours (mine only takes 6). A half hour before serving, stir in the bok choy. Serve over rice and sprinkle with the sliced scallions. Ben and I added both the crushed pepper flakes and jalapeno slices to ours. Be sure to serve in shallow bowls as this ends up with a very nice broth and you don't want to miss any of it.

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