Weekly Winner: Perfectly Picante Peanutty Pork Chops

peanut porkYou know how I love alliteration!  I also love a good peanut sauce as well as pork chops from my favorite butcher shop, Paulina Meat Market.  Therefore, this recipe is a total trifecta of tastiness!  Oops, I did it again.  Sorry.

Anyway, this recipe comes from Redbook Magazine (no really, I do get every magazine known to man!) and it is actually a recipe just for the Hoisin-peanut sauce but the article was on grilling and they showed the sauce with grilled pork chops.  Who was I to argue?  A nice benefit of this sauce is that it is applied after the meat is grilled, so you don’t have to worry about any of it burning on the grill.  The other good thing about serving this on grilled pork chops (if you’re me, that is) is that your husband perfectly grills the chops so all you have to do is make the sauce!

This sauce is spectacular but beware … it is hot.  But its a good hot.  I actually used half of the Sriracha the recipe called for and it was about as spicy as I would want it.  But you do what you want … I am not the boss of you or your taste buds.  Just know that I personally think it was perfect the way I made it … perfectly picante, that is!

Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts

1 Tbsp minced ginger

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1-2 Tbsp Sriracha (this is the amount called for — I halved it)

Mix everything together and brush on the pork chops a minute after taking them off the grill.  This makes 1-1/2 cups, enough for 4 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops.

Weekly Winner: Beef + Broccoli + Buckwheat = Booyah!

Beef, Broccoli, SobaI’ve made this week’s winner before — I’m certain I have.  Thing is, I just don’t remember it being so good!  Usually you think of stir-fried beef and broccoli as being served over rice.  It would have been fine over rice — quite tasty actually.  But add one of my favorite things in the world — peanut sauce — and then put that on soba noodles…..Ding, ding, ding … we have a winner!

The other surprise about this dish is that I’ve always had peanut soba noodles cold.  Having them hot with the beef and the broccoli made it a yummy, comforting dish for a chilly, dreary evening.  The recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine.  It just goes to show you should make recipes you like more than once … obviously you get better at it as you go!  Practice may not make perfect … but it makes it pretty dang good!

Peanut Soba with Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 lb. flank steak, cut across the grain into thin strips
  • 3 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 medium navel orange
  • One 1-1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. oyster sauce
  • 8 oz. soba noodles
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
  • 3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
  • 10 oz. broccoli crowns, cut into 1-inch florets (about 4-1/2 cups)

Procedure:

Bring a medium pot of well-salted water to a boil. Toss the beef with 2 tsp. soy sauce and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Finely grate the orange zest and then juice the orange. Put the ginger and garlic in a food processor and pulse until minced. Transfer all but 1 tsp. of the mixture to a small ramekin. Add the peanut butter, zest, 2 Tbs. of the juice, and 2 Tbs. of the soy sauce to the food processor. Process until smooth, adding 1 to 2 Tbs. water so the mixture loosens a bit.

In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbs. of the remaining orange juice with the oyster sauce, the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce, and 2 Tbs. water.

Cook the soba noodles in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and toss with the peanut butter mixture and half of the mint.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the oil with the minced garlic and ginger over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the beef and cook, stirring, until it just loses its raw color, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Reduce the heat to medium; add the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil to the skillet, and then the broccoli. Cook, stirring, until browned in places, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the oyster sauce mixture, cover, and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Return the beef and its juices to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Portion the noodles among 4 plates and top with the beef and broccoli. Sprinkle with the remaining mint and serve.

Weekly Winner: Noodles so nice, they named them twice

It seems simply impossible to me that this dish has not yet been featured in my Weekly Winner posts.  I have been making this dish for six years and it is one of my all-time favorite dinners. How is it possible that this has not made the cut before now?  I literally sat down and went through each Weekly Winner post just to make sure, and nope…not there. So, without further adieu, I give you Dan Dan Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers.

DanDan noodlesI am a sucker for a good peanut sauce, and this one is spectacular.  Just the right amount of heat, tang, and sweetness.  My husband adores anything pickled — jalepenos, onions, giardiniera you name it.  Generally neither one of us is a fan of ground turkey.  It just always seems incredibly bland and insipid.  But it works here.  I think the greatest testament to this recipe is that, in the six years I’ve been making it, I haven’t changed a thing!  The recipe is from Cuisine at Home Magazine.  Make room in your regular recipe rotation…you’re gonna need it!

Dan Dan Noodles with Pickled Cucumbers

Serves 4

For the Cucumbers:
2 cups cucumbers, julienned
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt to taste
For the Noodles and Sauce:
1/2 pound long-life noodles or dry spaghetti
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbs chunky peanut butter
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons peanut oil
1/4 cup red bell pepper, minced
3 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
2 Tbs garlic, minced
12 ounces ground turkey breast

Garnish and serve with:
Chopped fresh cilantro
Thinly sliced scallions
Pickled cucumbers

1. Combine all ingredients for the cucumbers in a bowl; cover and chill
until ready to serve.

2. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain; keep warm.

3. Whisk sherry, broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, chili garlic sauce,
and sesame oil together in a bowl; set aside.

4. Stir-fry bell pepper, ginger, and garlic in peanut oil in a large skillet
over medium-high heat, 30 seconds. Add turkey in large chunks and reduce
heat to medium. cook until it begins to brown, 3 minutes. Turn meat over and
brown on other side.

5. Stir in prepared peanut sauce and break up the turkey. Simmer until
turkey is cooked through and sauce thickens, 4-5 minutes. Serve meat sauce
over the cooked noodles.

6. Garnish with cilantro and scallions; serve with cucumbers.

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