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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Green Beans & Pork Hunan-Style

Let's just say that I have been a very reluctant home cook the past week and a half. We took a quick trip down to Florida, and then Nick left me all by my lonesome for a few days while he rubbed elbows with the stars at the Superbowl. Most of my dinner prep consisted of calling Bangkok 54, searching through the freezer for a Trader Joe's meal-in-a-bag, and yeah, I even pulled out some frozen chicken nuggets one night. Please don't judge - I made my own low-fat honey mustard dipping sauce for the nuggets.

I did redeem myself by making this tasty little stir fry that's loaded with everybody's favorite - green beans! This recipe keeps them so crisp and delicious, that you will find yourself picking them out of the leftovers. I really love all the layers of flavor in this stir fry, and the ginger works so well with the pork (be sure to get a good quality chop). I recommend being more aggressive than usual with the red pepper flakes since there's a lot of sweetness going on in the sauce with the sugar and apple juice. Make a bit extra and eat it for lunch the next day - this recipe makes great left-overs!

Word to the wise - prep all ingredients before you start to cook. The recipe moves so fast, you won't have time to do any additional chopping! I try not to over-do it with salt, but I definitely think it's important to season the pork with salt and pepper before you cut it into strips. The added seasoning will help bring out the other flavors.

Mix together the ingredients for the sauce - make sure that you get the cornstarch dissolved.

And then you are ready to stir fry! My kitchen smelled amazing when the ginger started to saute.

Finish it off with some green onion for a pop of flavor and dig in. So much more rewarding than Chinese take-out!

Green Beans & Pork Hunan-Style
Adapted from Healthy Cooking for Two (or just you) by Frances Price, RD
Serves 2

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 6 oz. lean boneless pork chops
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green onions, sliced

Snap the stem-ends from the beans and then snap the beans into 2" lengths. Immerse them in lukewarm water and then drain in a colander.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper to taste. Cut the chops into pieces about the size and shape of the green beans.

In a two-cup measure, combine the dry sherry or apple juice, broth, cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce and pepper flakes. Stir until the cornstarch has dissolved.

Place a heavy, 10" non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for two to three minutes. Add the oil, then the pork and the ginger. Cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the beans and garlic, cook and stir for 1 minute.

Stir in the broth mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute longer, or until the sauce is thickened and translucent. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook the mixture for two to three minutes, or until the beans are crisp-tender. Stir in the green onions and serve over brown rice or quinoa.

Per serving: 363 calories, 10.4 grams total fat, 1.7 grams saturated fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 411 mg sodium, 24.1 grams protein, 31.2 grams carbohydrates.

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