Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cafaux TH: Entree 1: Ground Pork with String Beans

Dinner specials at Cafe TH always feature two options, so Kevin and I each took charge of one. For my entree, I decided to go with everyone's favorite (and Christina's enthusiastic request) Ground Pork with String Beans. I knew that there was no way I could hope to duplicate Minh's version because I was never going to figure out the impeccable blend of spices he used, so I decided to put my own spin on the dish . Minh is well known for his superior fusion abilities (be sure to try his fusion Viet tacos or sliders), so I decided to turn this into a Mexican-Vietnamese dish.

Ground Pork with String Beans
Servings: 7-10
Time: 40 minutes (counting prep)

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 -2 lbs string beans, ends removed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Lemongrass, minced and lots of it
Ginger, minced and lots of it
Cilantro, chopped
Sriracha to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3 lbs ground pork 
Red Chili flakes to taste
Soy sauce substitute or soy sauce
Jasmine Rice

  1. Steam the string beans for 15-20 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In another pan, brown the ground pork with a healthy amount of lemon grass and ginger, red chili flakes, sriracha, and soy sauce subsitute.
  3. Saute the bell peppers, jalapenos, and onion with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until tender.
  4. Add the string beans, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, cilantro, salt, pepper, red chili flakes, and soy sauce substitute to the veggie mix and let the string beans cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Combine the browned pork with the veggies and serve over jasmine rice.
Christina was quite pleased with her requested dish and made sure to acquire the leftovers exclaiming, "Chef Terrence is amazing! The ground pork was simply delicious!"
This definitely veered into far different territory than the original, but it was a dish that I was incredibly proud of. The bell peppers, jalapeno, and cilantro added a new Mexican sensation to the meal, while the powerful punch of lemongrass and ginger (seriously, you can't put too much of those two) kept it true to its Asian origin and played nicely off the heat from the sriracha and chili flakes. The pork added a rich, saltiness to the dish, while the string beans provided freshness and a welcome crispy crunch. My only regret was not having enough pork to keep the rice to pork ratio in check (stupid cooking for 9 people!).

Coming up next, see Kevin try to follow-up what was essentially a cooking mic drop with Stir-fried Flat Rice Noodles with Beef and Baby Bok Choy.

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