Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Braised pork with leeks and bok choy

When I was at the market on Saturday I picked up a pork tenderloin, thinking it's been a long time since I made a pork dish. Initially I'd planned to stuff it and roast it whole, but I also craved something light and healthy.

I came upon a simple-looking recipe for Braised pork with leeks and bok choy and decided on that. The recipe also allowed me to employ one of the new cooking techniques I've learned in my George Brown class, which is steaming dishes with the use of parchment paper. It's not quite "en papillote," which refers to a dish cooked in a sealed envelope or package of parchment, but it's close. When it came time to cover my frypan to steam the bok choy during the last three to four minutes, I realized I didn't have a lid big enough. So I used parchment.

There's a method of cutting parchment so it fits your pan, but explaining folds in text is difficult -- you really have to see it, to get it. Basically though, you want the circle of parchment to cover the food, cutting a hole in the centre so steam can escape. It worked perfectly - my greens cooked, everything else stayed moist and tender, and the parchment even helped keep the food warm on the stove in case I wanted a second helping. And I did want one, but opted to save the rest for next day's lunch instead.

Braised pork with leeks and bok choy

1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 1/4 inch pice of gingerroot, peeled and cut into thin sticks
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 3/4 cups water
3/4 cup dry white wine or rice wine
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce, to taste
3 tsp superfine sugar, or to taste
2 large heads of bok choy, about 8 oz

Cut the pork into bite-sized chunks, trimming away any fat or sinew. Heat a heavy skillet with a little olive oil. Lightly season the pork pieces and brown in batches for about a minute on each side, until golden brown all over. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add a litle more oil to the skillet and stir in the leek, ginger, and garlic. Stir frequently over medium high heat for 4 - 6 minutes until the leek begins to soften. Add the water, wine, soy sauce, and sugar, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to deglaze.

Return the pork to the pan and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and gently braise for an hour, stirring from time to time, until the pork is very tender and the sauce has been reduced by half.

Cut the bok choy into quarters lengthwise and place on top of the pork. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until the bok choy is just tender. Serve the braised pork and vegetables with steamed rice.

Courtesy Healthy Appetite, Gordon Ramsay, Key Porter, 2009

Some personal notes on the recipe:

1) I chopped up the bok choy because I wanted the pieces to be close to the same size on the plate. I didn't want big hunks of bok choy dwarfing everything else.

2) I used Jasmine rice for its fragrant aroma and flavour. Really enjoy cooking with Jasmine, particularly in winter.

3) The white wine really added a depth of flavour to the recipe. Make sure you use a good quality one. I used some Oyster Bay sauvignon blanc, which is one of my favourite white wines to drink.



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