Szechuan Eggplant with Pork

Szechuan Eggplant and Pork

I do love a one-pot meal (or close — there’s rice under there). This one is quite tasty and keeps well, too, if you have leftovers. A little red pepper flake will give it spice, or can be replaced with a sliced chili of your favorite type. Both roommates like this one quite a bit.

Szechuan Eggplant with Pork, adapted from Manger à Trois

1 lb. ground pork
2 lbs. eggplant
1 bunch green onions
1″ fresh ginger
3-4 cloves garlic
1 c. chicken broth
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
healthy sprinkling sesame seeds
salt & pepper to taste
high smoke point oil (some tablespoons? ENOUGH. THAT IS HOW MUCH.)

Brown the ground pork in a big skillet or wok (fancy!) over high heat while you chop your eggplant. With most grocery store ones (I use the cheap ones, though Japanese ones are better, in my opinion — just not $4-6 better!), that means quartering them and slicing them up. Yes, it’s a lot of eggplant. When the pork is browned, pull it out and drain it, add enough peanut or canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and toss half your eggplant in (or all of it if you have a giant skillet). Stir-fry for 5-10 minutes, until the eggplant gets all brown and sticky. Season with salt and pepper about halfway through to start pulling the water out of the eggplant. When it’s cooked, put it in a bowl with the pork, add more oil and stir-fry the second batch.

Magically, while you are stir-frying, thinly slice the green onions and grate the ginger and garlic. Here would be where to add the chili or red pepper flakes, too. Set them aside until the eggplant is done; when it is, add a small amount more oil (sesame is nice, this time, if you have it) and dump in the scallions/ginger/garlic/possible hot stuff that’s chopped and waiting. Let that go until it smells delicious, about a minute, and add the chicken broth.

Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl, and then add the soy sauce and rice vinegar and whisk until everything’s pretty well suspended. Add this mixture to the aromatics and broth once the broth has come to a boil, stirring while it thickens. Put the pork and eggplant back in the pot and toss to coat; if there’s extra sauce at the bottom, keep it on the heat while you stir until all the bits are glossy with flavor and there’s no soupiness in the bottom of the pan.

Serve over rice, garnished with sesame seeds. Yum!


~ by iliadawry on 24 June 2012.

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