Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork is one of those foods that everybody has eaten, but few people have actually made themselves. I started off by cutting a 2.5 pound pork loin into strips.

Next, I fried them in some oil until they were browned. When frying, it is a tricky thing to cook the meat long enough to be cooked fully without being drenched in oil. Once I took out the meat, I placed all of the pieces on a cookie rack with a towel underneath. This allowed the grease to fall off the meat and it was an easy cleanup.

For the sauce, I started by sweating an onion and a bell pepper. When this was done, I added two cans of pineapple juice, vinegar and some spices. This cooked down for an hour before I added some corn starch. I have recently come to the conclusion that corn starch is magic. I also learned that if not wielded properly this magic powder will not cooperate. I made the mistake of adding it to a hot liquid and it merely clumped up instead of making the sauce thicker. After failing to incorporate the corn starch into the liquid, I strained it out through a fine mesh wire strainer. Then I put the sauce into the freezer and let it cool down. Once the temperature had dropped, I added the cornstarch again. But at this point, I wasn't sure how much to add. At was at this point that Leigha said that these are the things that professional cooks have learned along the way. Hopefully, by the time that I have made it through my 101 Foods to Eat Before You Die list, I will have figured a lot of these things out. Once the sauce was done, I combined everything together with pineapple chunks and heated for ten minutes.

For the final product, there are a few things that I would change for next time. I would eliminate the onions all together and not sweat the peppers beforehand; it would have been nice if they still had some crunch to them to add a textural contrast. The sauce was also too sweet. Next time I think I'll add some fish sauce to deepen the flavor and perhaps use some Mirin with the vinegar to add to the sour aspect.

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