I love Chinese food. Or whatever passes for it in American establishments. Or whatever passes for it in my house. I love the flavors. I am not, however, adept at using chopsticks.
I tend to dislike crockpot recipes. Soups turn out fine in it, but the foods I like best are always a disappointment when made in the crockpot. So I was curious about this recipe I found for ‘Peking Pork Chops‘:
6 thick cut pork chops (1 inch)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
Trim excess fat from pork chops and place in slow cooker. Mix brown sugar, ginger, soy sauce, ketchup, garlic, salt and pepper in small bowl and pour over meat. Cover, turn to low and cook 4 to 6 hours, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
I used some fresh grated ginger rather than dried but I didn’t have any garlic so I used some dried of that. Forget the so-called emergencies when a grocery runs out of milk, bread or toilet paper — when they don’t have garlic, *that’s* an emergency! Also, for the ketchup I used some ‘homestyle ketchup’ that my neighbor gave me when she was cleaning out the cabinets — it’s chunky and has some onion and jalapeno in it. It’s not any variety of Heinz. The kids hate it, obviously. I ended up cooking my pork chops for longer than 6 hrs and they were DONE . . . and a little dried out, at least the stuff on top, even after turning once.
I had initially planned to serve the pork chops with some rice and veggies on the side. After looking at the pork chops, I decided to change that plan — they didn’t look very appetizing. They were tender to the point of falling apart; it was difficult to remove them from the pot. I took the bones out and divided the meat — it covered two 10-inch dinner plates. I froze half and used the other half for dinner. I scrounged through the kitchen looking for stuff to make a full stir fry — mushrooms, carrots, peas, water chestnuts, and bamboo shoots. Then the sauce . . . what to make? I had been looking at the lo mein at Vegan Lunch Box (and YES, I realize pork is NOT vegan) and decided to try a hoisin and soy sauce combo. It reminded me of the flavors in mu shu, which is one of my favorite dishes. When I was a grad student, a Chinese post doc informed me that the essential ingredients in mu shu were the meat/veggie whatever base, egg and fungus.
I cooked the carrots for a couple of minutes, then added the rest of the veggies until they were just right and added the pork and stirred together. I pulled that out of the pan and with another squirt of oil I whipped two eggs in the pan until they were close to done and tossed that on top of the meat/veggie mix in the bowl.
Then I cooked together 1/4 c. hoisin sauce, 1/4 c. soy sauce and 1/2 c. chicken broth. Once it was hot and bubbly, I added a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch mixed with cold chicken broth and stirred until it was thick. I tossed the meat/veggie/egg mix back in the pan and stirred to coat then served with hot rice.
It’s not lo mein, it’s not mu shu, it’s just a stir fry with Chinese flavors and it was pretty well liked by everyone.
Despite the lack of garlic, it was reasonably good.