Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mar 16, 2010: Tofu Tuesday Allium Pork

Guess what today is? Tuesday!
What do we do on Tuesday? Cook some tofu!

I did a little pre-spring cleaning where I cleaned out the pantry and the refrigerator.
My discoveries my refrigerator had a selection of allium. Leeks, Chinese Chives, Green Onions and Garlic.

Also found was an assortment of Chinese bean sauces. Hoisin sauce, Szechuan Hot Bean Paste and plain Bean Paste.

Not one for wasting ingredients, I improvised a recipe using a portion of fresh ham and, of course, tofu.

Allium Braised Pork with Tofu
2 C Leek, coarse chop and cleaned
1 C Chinese Chives, coarse chop
1/2 C Green Onion, coarse chop
3 Cloves Garlic, smacked with a knife
4 or 5 Ginger slices
2 T Szechuan Hot Bean Paste
1 T Bean Paste
1 T Hoisin Sauce
1 Piece of Rock Sugar
1/2 C Soy Sauce, Regular
1 lb Firm Tofu, cubed
1 to 2 C of stock or water

My mise en place.
The allium. The garlic is in there somewhere hiding.

The bean sauces. The Szechuan hot bean paste (aka Chile Bean Sauce) has a pleasant level of heat with a miso-like aftertaste. This is my first time using this stuff.

Cuved Tofu... ready to go!

1) As with a beef pot roast, I browned the pork on all sides in the dutch oven.
Remove when browned.

2) Another find in my refrigerator, about 1/2 C of diced pancetta.
Lightly cooked to release it's fat. Added the allium to sweat.

3) After sweating the alliums, the rest of the ingredients go in to mix.

4) The pork and soy sauce is added. Additional stock is used to raise the liquid level about 1/2 to 3/4 the way up the pork.

5) Finally the tofu cubes are added.

6) There are many ways to cook this dish, but the objective is to slowly simmer the mixture for a few hours. This can be done on the stove top or in the oven.

I went the oven route. The entire pot was placed in the 250F oven for 3 hours.

The results after 3 hours. The pork is falling off the bone and the tofu absorbed the flavors of the braising liquid.

The braised pork is pulled off the bone and shredded.

Instead of rice... I'm a little burned out on rice, especially after the Risotto challenge.

I opted to serve over noodles.
The noodles are cooked and drained.
While still hot, shredded cabbage and carrots are added plus a 1/2 t of toasted sesame oil.
The residual heat will cook the shredded veggies.

The mixture is spooned over the noodles and served family style.

Bean paste has a miso-like flavoring. The hot bean paste mellowed but still had a little kick. The tofu absorbed a lot of the flavorful liquids.

This all made for a delicious meal.

Changes I would make the next time around... a little less soy sauce and more sugar.

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