17 June 2009

Pork with mushrooms

You will need these implements:

  • cutting board
  • sharp general purpose cook's knife
  • a large wok
  • wooden spatula for stirring the wok
  • large colander
  • mushroom brush
  • small sieve
And these ingredients:
  • four pork tenderloins (about 400 g)
  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 650 g white button mushrooms
  • dried tarragon
  • dried basil
  • cinnamon
  • imperial mustard powder
  • cooking wine or brandy

Step one: wok and spice prep
  1. put a large wok over medium heat
  2. cover the bottom of the wok with olive oil
  3. sift into it one heaping tablespoon (~ 25 mL) of imperial mustard powder
  4. crush between your hands a palmful of dried tarragon and a palmful of dried basil; add them to the oil
  5. woggle the wok a bit to make sure it's all heating evenly; mustard powder clumping is what you sifted it to avoid, but it probably wants to do this anyway
Step two: add green onions
  1. wash and slice up into rounds, widening the rounds away from the root end, two bunches of green onions.
  2. once the mustard has brightened in the oil and shows bright yellow, add the onions to the wok, stirring to cover evenly with the oil and spices
  3. cover the wok (those silicone rim general-purpose lids? very handy for this)
Step 3: add pork tenderloin
  1. slice up four pork tenderloins about 5mm thick; where the tenderloins are wide, slice the slices in half, to produce dainty bite-sized pieces.
  2. Remove lid; stir the onions. If the onions are not yet limp, replace the lid for a bit.
  3. When the onions become limp, add the sliced pork tenderloin, and stir to mix all together thoroughly. Make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the wok; vigorous passes with the wooden spatula may be required if the mustard has got ahead of you and precipitated.
  4. Add a goodly dollop of cooking wine or brandy. (60 mL? enough to perceptible change the note and level of the fluid in the bottom of the wok)
  5. Cover the wok.
Step 4: add mushrooms
  1. Wash, stem, and section into wedges 650 g of white button mushrooms. Depending on mushroom cap size, that's 4, 6, or 8 wedges per mushroom. About halfway through this, stop and stir the wok, ensuring that what was low becomes high and what was high becomes low, as well as that all is seething happily together.
  2. Uncover the wok; add the mushrooms. Stir to coat them thoroughly in the existing liquid and to distribute them thoroughly among the pork.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon to half-cover the surface of the mushrooms.
  4. Add another crushed palm full each of basil and tarragon.
  5. Cover.
Step 5: Wash, dry, and put away knives and cutting board.
Step 6: Make sure the mushrooms cook evenly
  1. After 3 to 5 minutes, when the lower mushrooms have shrunk and given up fluid, remove the cover the wok and stir, replacing the low with the high and the high with the low.
  2. Cover.
  3. Check and stir twice more until all the mushrooms are done; about another 5 to 8 minutes. Keep covered while not being stirred.
Takes about 30 minutes in total to prepare.
Remove from heat and serve. Serves 4 if there's other stuff like starch, 2 if not.

Note: This can be markedly sharp, especially if the onions turn out to be the opinionated kind. A couple teaspoons (~10 mL) of maple sugar, or a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, may be considered during the mushroom-adding case if you wish to dial back the sharpness somewhat, but in that case you must be careful that the sugar doesn't stick to the bottom of the wok.

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