skillet roasted sweet n sour pork

by hungryrabbit on August 23, 2010

Incoming email: Good morning, Mr. Rabbit. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the making of a SAVORY dish in which fruit (fresh or dried and of your choice) plays the defining role in terms of providing flavor to the overall dish. This message will self-destruct . . . The real challenge from the 4 Velveteers may have been less dramatic, but the mission just as important.

A worthy response would be a dish with fruit and pork, which always go nicely together. Sweet and Sour Pork is the first thing that comes to taste memory, but I’m not talking about the day-glow orange gelatinous goo clinging to the nubbins of meat typically served in Chinese restaurants in the West.

You need a vibrant, tangy sauce that’s only sweet enough to contrast with the saltiness of the lightly breaded and flash-fried pork nuggets. That’s idea behind, Sweet and Sour Pork ( 咕嚕肉, goo lou yok), the dish I knew growing up. As a kid, I’d sneak into the kitchen for a pre-dinner snack and sample the fried pork pieces as they sat ready for the sauce.

With this in mind, I made a contemporary version with strawberries, peaches, and vinegar. The strawberries have an edge of tartness and the juiciness of the peaches brings out their sweetness. While the umami of the soy sauce helps find the balance between sweet and savory, the vinegar completes the sauce. You can certainly adjust the balance of sweet and sour to your liking, but make sure it’s bold and packs a punch.

Skillet Roasted Sweet n Sour Pork

recipe by hungryrabbitnyc, 2010


Sweet n Sour Sauce
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1-1/2 cups strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled and diced
3/4 cups peaches, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon dry sherry or brandy (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pork Tenderloin:
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each, rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tablespoons canola oil

Optional:
1/2 cup strawberries, diced
1/2 cup peaches, peeled and diced

Sweet n Sour Sauce
1. Combine the broth, wine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, strawberries, peaches and rosemary in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown sugar is dissolved. Turn heat down to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with the 2 Tablespoons of water until combined, add to sauce mixture. Stir in sherry or brandy if use. Increase heat to medium-high, whisking constantly, until the mixture returns to a boil and thickens, about 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a medium sieve into a bowl. Season with black pepper and set aside.

Pork Tendeloin
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the baking rack in the center.

2. Combine salt, pepper and rosemary in a small bowl. Pat both tenderloins on all sides with this mixture.

3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and you see whisps of smoke.

4.Add tenderloins and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven and roast about 15 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the tenderloin reads 155 degrees F.

5. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the tenderloins onto a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes. (Pork temperature will continue to rise to 160 degrees F while resting.)

To serve
1. While pork tenderloins are resting, rewarm sauce and stir in strawberries and peaches, if using. You can also sprinkle fruit on to the finish dish to retain their vibrant color

2. Slice the tenderloins into 1-inch thick medallions and arrange on a serving platter. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the medallions. Pour the remaining sauce into a sauceboat or serving bowl if extra sauce is desired at the table. Serve immediately.

Founders 4 Velveteers
Asha of Fork Spoon Knife
Allessio of RecipeTaster
Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen
Pam of Cooking Ninja

Members 4 Velveteers
Ken of Hungry Rabbit
Madhuli of My Food Court

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria August 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

I love this refined version of sweet-and-sour pork!! Looks gorgeous :)

Aparna August 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Well done again, Ken. You also posted ahead the rest of us, which is great. :)
I should have mine posted tomorrow.

catty August 23, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Well this is definitely the most creative and beautiful sweet and sour pork I’ve ever seen!!

The Cooking Ninja August 24, 2010 at 12:52 pm

oh my…that looks so drooling good. I’m saving it to try it out later. This dish reminded me of this yummy rolled roasted pork with dried fruits that I made 2 years ago.

Asha@FSK August 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

ah! beautiful entry for the challenge! Pork is indeed one of the best meats to pair with a sweet sauce.. love it!! Thanks Ken for sharing this contemporary take on your childhood dish :)

meemalee August 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm

This sounds so elegant and irresistible!

Oh and I still steal the fried pork pieces from my mum’s kitchen before they get sauced :)

hungry dog September 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

What a wonderful idea–sweet and sour anything is so often such a yawn, but yours is fresh and original. The pork looks perfectly cooked, too. I like your blog, I shall be back!

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