Comfort food, Asian style

Five Spice Pork Wraps

We have snow on the ground with more expected. The first winter we lived in Ketchikan we had frequent snows. The accumulation wasn’t significant most of the time, but snowfall was a regular occurrence. Last winter we experienced more rain than anything else. This season has been mild until the past few weeks. But now, with March on the calendar and daffodils breaking through the soil, spring is delayed. The forecast for the weekend is more of the same: wind and snow…it will be good to be indoors.

I would typically be thinking of making hearty comfort food to combat the weather. A product of a Southern upbringing, I love barbecue. It is not just for summer cookouts or tailgating, it’s a favorite year round. The traditional tangy/sweet sauce dressing a pulled pork sandwich is a little bit of heaven on a bun for me. But thanks to a recipe from Williams-Sonoma that I tried recently, I have a new twist on barbecue. Pork tenderloin, infused with Asian flavors from ginger, garlic, and hoisin sauce, is the updated version of the classic taste. I’ve made this twice in the past few weeks, and I absolutely need to experience it again. It’s so easy and versatile. The recipe suggests using the pork in a lettuce wrap, but you could also serve this as an entrée with a stir fry of mixed vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, red peppers, snow peas, water chestnuts, onions…whatever you like); or shred the meat for sandwiches.

Asian Barbecue Pork

(with thanks to Williams-Sonoma for the inspiration; the recipe is in their current catalog and on their website as “Five-Spice Pork Wraps.”  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/five-spice-pork-wraps.html?cm_src=RECIPESEARCH I have adjusted it a bit to suit my taste)

Ingredients

  1. 1 package pork tenderloin (usually two tenderloin pieces are packaged together; be sure to purchase meat that is not pre-seasoned)
  2. 1 or 2 yellow onions, cut in thin wedges
  3. 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic, or 2 tsp crushed garlic
  4. 3 or 4 pieces of pickled jarred ginger
  5. 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  6. 1/2 cup Litehouse Sesame Ginger Dressing
  7. 1/3 cup soy sauce
  8. 2-3 Tbsp canola oil
  9. 2 Tbsp chili sauce or hot sauce, if desired
  10. Salt, black pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle surface of pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Using oven proof cookware, heat oil on medium high setting. Brown pork, onion and garlic until meat is seared on all sides.
  3. Remove pan from heat; add ginger, hoisin sauce, Litehouse dressing, and hot sauce, combining all ingredients to coat pork.
  4. Bake, covered, about 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and shreds with a fork.

When the meat is tender, shred and pair with stir fried vegetables; serve in a lettuce wrap; or serve on a warmed bun. Garnish with fresh cilantro,  green onions, additional hoisin sauce, Litehouse Sesame Ginger Dressing, or hot sauce if desired.

You can also prepare this dish in a slow cooker rather than the oven if you prefer that method. Follow the same prep steps, but transfer the meat and sauce to a slow cooker after meat is browned. Cook on a low setting, checking tenderness of meat after 4 hours. If meat does not easily shred, continue cooking until meat shreds with a fork.

Here’s another tip for free: I like to make spring rolls. You can find a wide variety of recipes online. But whether you make your own, or buy frozen spring rolls or egg rolls, these are a tasty addition to any Asian-inspired meal, or a delicious little snack or appetizer. I have found a quick and easy dipping sauce that is a perfect partner. Mix to taste, and with proportions based on the number of people you will be serving…no measurements here! For each serving, combine a spoonful or two of apricot jam or orange marmalade with Litehouse Sesame Ginger Dressing and mix well. You can heat the mixture if you prefer the sauce to be warm, or serve cold. This is so simple…why didn’t I think of this before?!

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