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Sweet and Spicy Mushroom Pork with Green Beans


I don't totally go out of my way to make food healthier, for the most part. We eat butter, lots of olive oil, all the meats and full fat milk and cream always has a place in my kitchen. We try to make sure that the largest slice of pie, in our diet pie chart, comes from whole foods, leaving room for the odd Dorito, Fresca and ramen. As long as we are eating mostly real food, I am pretty happy about what we are stuffing into our bellies.

Okay, that said, it doesn't mean that I still don't look for ways to cut down on saturated fats or excessive white carbs like delicious pasta and white basmati rice when I feel like we have been over indulging. One striploin serves all of us, we can get three meals out of one roast chicken and apart from a bit of an ice cream problem, dessert is not something we see in this house very often.  In the grand scheme of things, as long as the flavour is not compromised, I am good with lightening up some of our favourite dishes and this is such a dish.


For years, I have made fried ground pork with grean beans and it's  delicious, kind of greasy and sweet with a hint of spice from a bit of thai chili. While some cuts of pork, like tenderloin, are really lean, ground pork, although delicious, is a saturated fatty fatty bobatty - there is no way around it. As The Kid gets older and his appetite gets bigger, I cringe when I see him heap up his plate with a second helping that I silently calculate to be half a pound of ground pork. Ouch.

After some tinkering, I have replaced almost half of the pork with ground mushrooms, using my beloved blend and extend method which I now apply to all ground meat dishes, without losing anything as far as flavour and texture. What I am losing is volume of ground pork and the fat that comes with it. When The Kid ended up eating half of the pan as his dinner, I didn't have to avert my eyes and pretend it wasn't really THAT much pork because it actually wasn't really that much pork.The addition of gochujang to replace some of the hoisin adds spice while adding another layer of flavour.

Half the fat, half the pork with all the flavour? That's a winning recipe, if you ask me.

Sweet and Spicy Mushroom Pork with Green Beans

clearly, you don't have to serve this on udon noodles, but I love the chewiness and they really do take up the sauce nicely. It's also great on rice, rice noodles or chow mein noodles.

serves 4-6

Ingredients:

350g ground pork
250g button mushrooms
2 tbls veg oil
1 tbls soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 onion, finely diced
2 tbls hoisin sauce
3 tbls gochujang
1/4 cup shaoxing wine
1 cup chicken stock
240 g green beans
1 tbls cornstarch
1 1/2 tbls water

udon noodles
approx 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts. chopped fine
handful of cilantro
*sliced red thai chili if you need some extra heat

Directions:


wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth, quarter them and pulse in a food processor until ground.

Heat a deep saute pan over med high heat and about 1 tbls vegetable oil and saute the mushrooms until they have released most of their water and are reduced in volume - should take about 2 minutes. Add in the ground pork and continue to cook, breaking up the pork with a wooden spoon and stirring constantly, until there is no pink left to the meat. Add in the soy sauce, saute 1 more minute and remove the pork to a bowl.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan and saute the onion, garlic and ginger for a few minutes until the onion is softened. Throw in the hoisin and gochujang and cook for a minute, stirring constantly and scraping up the bottom so that it doesn't burn.

Put the pork back in the pan with the chicken stock, wine and green beans and simmer for about 5 minutes. While the pork is simmering, bring a pot of water to the boil and cook the udon noodles according to package directions. (fresh udon noodles only take a couple of minutes) Drain the udon and set aside.

Make a slurry out of the cornstarch and water, add to the pork, stir well and let it cook for a minute to thicken up.

Put udon in a shallow bowl, pour the pork mixture over the top and scatter with a generous handful of finely chopped peanuts and some cilantro.


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