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Cooking the Book: “One Big Roast, Three Great Meals” (Pork Edition) Leftovers, Take 2

2012 November 14

While I am not anti-stirfry, I make no apologies for thinking they are often boring, especially when presented as a “the ultimate quick/easy/healthy dinner for two!” It’s an annoying label and I generally think that when it comes to dinner for two, a little bit of effort (and about the same amount of time) can yield something a bit more inspired than “chop up a bunch of stuff and flash fry it” in about the same amount of time. But there are some days when you just want something that really is a quick, easy and reasonably healthy dinner for two — preferably one you can make from leftovers, or at least with minimal cooking.

Part of the point of fried rice is that it’s to use up not just other random leftovers like the pork, but also leftover rice. This recipe includes instructions on how to make fried rice even if you don’t have leftover rice, which is handy if that’s what you’re in the mood for but don’t have any actual leftover rice; it’s a reasonable facsimile, but I admit I wasn’t 100 percent sold.

The Good

Fast and easy (and probably reasonably healthy). And for this kind of dish, there was not an excessive amount of prep or an unreasonable amount of chopping. Prep went quickly (pretty much while the rice was cooking and cooling) and it was all a matter of minutes from there.

The Bad

The end result was just kind of “meh.” I was expecting more depth of flavor and a wider variety of textures. It wasn’t everything I dislike about stir fries but it wasn’t my favorite. Mr. Kitchenette is a huge fried rice fan, so he was mostly in favor of this one, but he was definitely missing the textural variety that comes from the frozen carrots and peas his mom (and most Chinese takeout places!) toss in.

The Leftovers

No actual leftovers (though there’s still plenty of pork roast to go around!).

It’s not that I wouldn’t make this one again, but I don’t think I’d make it again without some changes… probably some bean sprouts and Mr. K’s beloved peas and carrots to start. If it was a kindergarten grading system, I would have to say “needs improvement.” It’s also entirely possible that it could be improved with actual leftover rice, which I’d also be willing to try next time, instead of trying to make fresh rice seem old.

Pork Fried Rice

from Cooking for Two, 2011

Serves 2

The cooked pork in this recipe is from Slow-Roasted Pork with Peach Sauce. You will need a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid to make this recipe. You can substitute 3 cups cooked long-grain rice for the raw rice; omit steps 1 and 2.

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup long-grain rice (see note) rinsed

1 3/4 cups water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce, plus extra for serving

1/2 teaspoon siracha sauce

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

4 scallions, white and green parts separated, whites minced and greens sliced thin

1 shallot, sliced thin

2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon sugar

7 1/2 ounces pork (see note), cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

Method

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in rice and cook until edges of grains being to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in water and saly, increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 18 to 22 minutes.

Off heat, uncomver saucepan and place clean kitchen towel folded in half over pan, then replace lid. Let rice stand for 10 minutes, then spread on baking sheet and let cool to room temperature about 20 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon more oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add egg and cook, without stirring, until just beginning to set, about 20 seconds, then scramble until egg is cooked through but not browned, about 1 minute longer. Transfer egg to small bowl. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Combine hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce and siracha in small bowl. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in skillet over medium heat until shimmering, Stir in mushrooms and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in scallion whites, shallot, ginger, garlic and sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in rice and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in pork and hoisin sauce mixture and continue to cook until rice is coated in sauce and pork is warmed through, 2 to 4 minutes longer.

Off heat, stir in scallion greens and scrambled egg, season with soy sauce to taste and serve.

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