I feel like our kitchen avoidance dinner posts are becoming almost a broken record. This Summer heat is unrelenting! We have tons of yard work and new bedding plants that are sorely being neglected and the lawn looks like it has some form of mange. I’m starting to think the only season that can truly be enjoyed in Missouri is Fall, and even it feels abbreviated by the crazy extremes we seem to experience in weather. But Summer marches on and so continues our streak of quick and easy meals.
Our latest recipe was inspired by Neil’s new-found love of Szechuan Pork from one of our local Chinese restaurants. You might remember his obsession with recreating and healthifying popular take-out meals at home, and his latest, Szechuan Pork Stuffed Peppers, are one of his best creations yet (though I’m still pretty partial to the Springfield-style Cashew Chicken myself). Sweet and tangy pork in a crisp summer sweet pepper? Yum!
1/2 pound lean ground pork
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons Braggs Liquid Aminos/low-sodium soy sauce
2 cups white rice, prepared according to instructions
4 medium sweet peppers
- Combine pork, corn starch, soy sauce or liquid aminos, salt, white pepper, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and rice vinegar in a medium bowl. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside to marinade for 15 minutes.
- Core and blanch the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes, or until they are tender but firm. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cooled but still slightly warm.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until shallots are soft.
- Add marinated pork mixture to the pan and cook until pork is no longer pink, and is crumbly.
- To finish, spoon a portion of the pork and rice mixture (about 6 tablespoons) into each of the peppers and serve. Makes 4 servings/peppers
The textures and flavors mingle so well in this meal — sweet and tangy pork, on a bed of soft rice in a crisp sweet pepper tastes amazingly fresh, and not too heavy for a hot summer day. The only thing I wish we would have thought to include is a little fresh cilantro. I think a tablespoon or so in each pepper would have really capped the meal off right. I did stir in roughly a tablespoon of hummus into each finished pepper, just to give it a little extra creaminess and kick (it was spicy hummus). All in all a perfect lightened version of what we’ve had in restaurants dozens of times, and served in an edible container, which is never a bad thing if you ask me.