Red Beans and Rice

1 lb. Rancho Gordo Sangre de Toro Beans
2 tbs. cooking oil (we like grapeseed or vegetable)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, grated
2 ribs celery, diced
5 large garlic cloves, diced
3 tsp. smoked paprika
1 smoked ham hock or 3/4 lb. smoked ham, diced (optional)
2 dried bay leaves
3 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
Balsamic vinegar, to taste (we used about two big dashes)
A few dashes of Hot sauce (optional)
Salt, to taste (if you can, get Smoked Sea Salt — adds a nice smoky flavor)

Cooked white rice for serving

Pickled onions, for garnish (optional)

Fresh chives and parsley, chopped for garnish

You can soak the beans overnight if you’d like OR, for day-of: cover the beans with water in a big pot and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the beans for about an hour, until the beans are tender but not falling apart. Sometimes it takes longer, depending on the age of the beans. Do NOT add salt yet (this slows the cooking process).

When the beans are nearly tender, pour your cooking oil into a pan and sauté the onions, celery, bell pepper, and carrot until fragrant (about 2-3 mins). Add the garlic and smoked paprika, then sauté for another few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Drain the beans, then add the sautéed vegetables to the beans. Add the ham hock (if using), thyme, bay leaves, Worcestershire, balsamic, hot sauce, and just enough water (or veggie stock) to cover.

Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.

Stirring occasionally, cook for at least 2 hours, or until it’s nice and creamy. The longer you cook it, the better it gets!

Do one final salt check — add a bit more if it needs it.
Pour mixture over cooked white rice and top with pickled onions (if using) and fresh chopped herbs. Serve with good local bread and a glass (or three) of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Citing Two Old Dogs.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazool)

1/4 pound diced Apple Smoked Bacon (optional) (we like Hobbs)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, (3-4 tablespoons if not using bacon)
1/2 cup finely diced sweet onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1/4 cup finely diced carrot
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes or canned crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 pound Royal Corona or Cassoulet beans, soaked 6-8 hours
4 cups homemade chicken stock or your favorite canned chicken stock
6-8 cups water if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
1 cup pasta (your choice shape such as little tubes or broken papardelli noodles
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Da Vero Lemon Olive Oil to drizzle
Vella Dry Jack to grate to taste over the “fazool”

In a large heavy bottom soup pot, sauté bacon until browned. Remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Discard all but about 1-2 tablespoons bacon fat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil (or start with 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil if you are not using bacon).

Over medium heat, sauté onions, celery, carrots, and garlic until soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add tomatoes, beans, stock, oregano, and return bacon to the pot. Simmer over medium heat until beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time may vary depending on freshness of beans). You may add water if necessary.

Add pasta and continue cooking until al dente. Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and allow the “fazool” to stand for 10 minutes before serving, to concentrate the flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Drizzle individual bowls with lemon olive oil, and sprinkle grated cheese on top.

Classic Pasta Fagioli

Serves 4-6

1 lb Baia Pasta Organic Durum Wheat Sardinians (Or try Whole Durum Wheat or Spelt pasta from Baia)
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Cranberry beans
1 1/2 cup of cooked Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans
4 cups bean broth from the cooked beans (If you have less than four cups, make up the difference with chicken broth)
4 oz pancetta, cubed or roughly chopped
1 tbs of lard (or 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 carrot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 rosemary sprig
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbs tomato paste
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste (optional)
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

As you prepare the beans, make sure you have plenty of liquid on hand when they are done as this will be the basis for your sauce.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the soffritto. Melt the lard (or olive oil) in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Slowly fry the pancetta until fragrant and chewy. Once cooked, remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel. If needed, add more olive oil so there is enough fat to fry the aromatic vegetables.

Add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion until the vegetables are soft and the onion is turning golden colored.

Add the tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes until the paste is heated through and the tomato flavor is intensified.

Add the bean broth and rosemary sprig and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking on a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or so. The liquid should start to reduce.

Cook the pasta in a large stockpot in salted water for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Add the drained pasta, beans, and reserved pancetta to the soffritto mixture, mix well and gently cook for a few minutes to marry the various flavors.

Serve immediately with a splash of peppery extra virgin olive oil. Pass around a bowl of grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese for the guests to help themselves.

Pork, Pork, Pork, and Beans

Serves 6-8

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in Pork Butt (Shoulder)
5 slices Uncured Rustic Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
4 links Rustic Pork Sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mirepoix:

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
14 ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 branches fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beans:

3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, preferably Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt (from the Yucatan)
2 cups panko crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Seasoning the pork butt: Remove the bone from the pork butt and cut the meat into 1 1/2-to-2 inch chunks. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and refrigerate it (uncovered) for a day.

Soaking the beans: Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 2-inches cold water. Soak the beans for 4 to 6 hours.

Begin the cooking: Put the bacon into a cold 5 quart enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven and place the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon from for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the mirepoix vegetables together and reserve 1/2 cup for cooking the beans. Add the remaining vegetables to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to color.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Tuck the pork chunks into the vegetables, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and put (uncovered) in the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Cooking the beans (while the meat is in the oven):
Heat a medium size enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven. Add the oil and the reserved mirepoix and saute about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and their soaking water, adding additional water to reach 2-inches above the beans. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil rapidly for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Place the lid slightly ajar (to allow evaporation), and reduce the heat to cook the beans at a gentle simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to be sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water at all times; use the lid to control the heat.

After about 1 hour, the smell of beans should be pronounced and you can salt the beans at this point. Add 11/2 tablespoons of salt. Continue to cook until the beans are just tender.

Completing the dish: Once the pork is tender, remove the pieces from the pan. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard.

Put the cooked vegetables and any juices into a food processor. Add the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, a few grinds of black pepper and lemon juice and puree.

Drain the beans and put them in the Dutch oven. Stir in the bacon pieces and the vegetable puree.

Nestle the pork meat and sausages into the beans, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the panko crumbs in a bowl and stir in the butter. Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle the panko over the top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the crumbs are a rich golden brown.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Posole with Pork and Chipotle

2 cups Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 pound pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican Oregano
2 large bay leaves
1 pork bone (optional)
2 cups crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, membranes and seeds removed, finely minced, plus 1/2 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Whole trimmed radishes, for serving (optional)

Soak the hominy overnight in 12 cups (3 quarts) of water. Drain, reserving liquid.

Season the pork well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart pot over high heat. Brown the pork well in three to four batches (making sure not to crowd the pot), 2 to 3 minutes on each side. As you finish each batch, transfer it to a platter and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium high. If there is fat in the pan, spoon off all but 1 tablespoon. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly for an additional minute.

Stir in 8 cups (2 quarts) of the hominy soaking liquid, the soaked hominy, oregano, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the pork bone (if using).

Over high heat, bring the mixture almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Stir in the tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce, and the browned pork, along with any juices accumulated on the platter. Set the cover slightly off center and continue simmering until the pork is fork-tender and the hominy is done (it will be chewy but the center should be soft and somewhat creamy), an additional 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Add more hominy soaking liquid or water if the mixture becomes too thick and threatens to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Remove the pork bone and bay leaves. Adjust the seasoning. Serve in large bowls. Garnish individual bowls with cilantro and serve a bowl of radishes for accompaniment.

Stir-fried Cabbage (with Pork or Chicken)

2 tablespoons oil
6 oz. pork belly, pork loin, or chicken, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, smashed and cut in half
5 dried red chilies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 1/2 lb. cabbage, hand-shredded into bite sized pieces, washed, and thoroughly dried
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

In a wok over high heat, add the oil. Sear the meat until caramelized. Add the garlic and chili, turn down the heat to medium, and stir-fry for a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic.

Add the cabbage, wine, soy sauce, sugar, and water. Turn up the heat to high, cover the lid and let the cabbage cook for 1-2 minutes. Uncover the lid, and stir in the dark vinegar, scallions, and salt to taste. The cabbage should be wilted, but still slightly crunchy and caramelized. Serve hot!

Shnghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs

For the bok choy:
1 1/2 pounds bok choy (Shanghai baby bok choy is my favorite, but larger varieties will work too)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup finely sliced scallions (about 3-4 scallions)
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 to 3 cloves)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine or sake
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable or other neutral oil, or as much as needed to fry

Prep the bok choy: Thoroughly wash and clean the bok choy, aiming to leave the heads more or less intact, save for trimming the very ends of the stems. (This method is best for small, Shanghai baby bok choy—if you are using larger and tougher bok choy, feel free to separate the leaves.)

Place the bok choy in a large 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot. It should more or less fill the pot all the way to the top, which looks like a lot, but will be just right once the bok choy steams and wilts. It will amaze you how much they shrink. Drizzle the bok choy with soy sauce and sesame oil, and sprinkle with salt. Set the pot aside.

For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, scallions, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, cooking wine, sesame oil, and salt and stir with chopsticks or a wooden spoon until well-blended.

Next, add the eggs and mix vigorously until well-combined. The mixture will seem extremely liquid—this is okay.

Add the cornstarch and mix again until the mixture forms a thick, porridge-like consistency, like a thick muffin batter.

Pour the oil into a large wok or nonstick skillet, or enough to coat the bottom with about a half-inch of oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and give the oil a few minutes to warm up.

When the oil reaches about 375 to 400 degrees, or a chopstick bubbles energetically when inserted into the oil, use a 1/4-cup measuring cup or a large ice cream scoop to drop balls of the pork mixture into the wok in a single layer. I usually fit about 4 or 5, and end up frying in two or three batches. Let sizzle in the pan until nicely browned, about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and brown the other side, another 3 minutes or so. It does not need to cook through, since we’ll be steaming the meatballs to finish.

Once the meatball is browned on both sides, remove with a slotted spoon and place on top of the prepared bok choy. Repeat with the remaining pork mixture.

Once all the meatballs are browned and nestled on top of the bok choy, cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the bok choy and meatballs steam for 20 to 30 minutes, or until bok choy leaves have wilted and the stems are tender. When meatballs are cooked through and bok choy is done to your liking, enjoy warm, with plenty of rice.

Alternative: sub ground turkey instead of pork and add one more egg. Use just a tablespoon or so of oil in a large skillet and fry into thin patties, rather than large meatballs, flipping once and cooking until brown on both sides. Serve with steamed veggies and rice.

Pork and Ricotta Meatball Noodle Soup

Meatballs:
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated, plus more for garnish
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp nutmeg grated
1 tsp Kosher salt less if using fine salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 lbs ground pork

Soup:
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken broth
1 3-by-1-by-1 inch piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 3 inches long, 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick
1 cup frozen peas thawed
2 cups baby spinach
For serving
Warm cooked egg noodles
Shaved, crumbled Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Start water boiling in a large pot for egg noodles.

In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Add the egg, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper and water. Add the pork and stir to combine well. Form into 15-18 approx. two-inch diameter meatballs.

In a large pot (preferably non-stick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the meatballs and cook the bottom until well browned.

Using a spoon, gently flip the meatballs over and brown that side well. Again, using a spoon, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown all sides to seal the meatball well.

Pour in the broth and add the the piece of cheese. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer the broth very gently, stirring once or twice (so the Parmesan doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan), until the meatballs are cooked through and the broth is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the thawed peas and spinach. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the peas are warmed through.

Meanwhile, cook egg noodles in boiling water per the package directions. Drain and keep warm.

Place some warm cooked egg noodles in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the meatballs and broth over the egg noodles. Garnish with additional grated Parmigiano and serve.

Recipe Notes
As the meatballs are quite moist and soft, cooking them in a non-stick pan will make life easier. If you don’t have a larger non-stick pot, you can cook them off in a non-stick skillet, then move them to a larger pot to finish cooking the soup. A non-stick skillet will give you extra room for flipping, as well.

Orange Chili Pork

1 pork tenderloin,trimmed and sliced into thin slices
6-8 baby bok choy or shanghai choy
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced

Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce, sambal oelek or siracha (1 tsp. for moderate spice or 2 tsp. for spicy-lovers. Can omit if you don’t want heat)
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Garnish:
Toasted sesame seeds
1-2 green onions, sliced
Small red pepper, thinly sliced

Remove silverskin and trim any fat from pork tenderloin and cut into thin slices. Set aside. (*Tip: to easily remove silver-skin, make a slice into it with a sharp knife and them use a paper towel to pull it off. Repeat until it’s all removed). Remove ends from bok choy and wash. Chop, if desired or leave in whole stalks. Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in frying pan over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook until no pink remains. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Scatter bok choy over top and continue cooking, tossing, until bok choy is tender, but still a nice, bright green. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, red pepper slices (if usinand sliced green onions.

Serve as is, or over rice.

Stir-fried Green Beans with Pork and Chilies

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as peanut, sunflower or grapeseed, plus more if needed
1 pound ground pork
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
2 red chiles, seeded or not, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly cracked with a mortar and pestle or with the side of a knife
1/4 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons rice-wine vinegar, plus more for serving
4 teaspoons soy sauce, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Cooked white rice or rice noodles, for serving
Sliced tomato, for serving (optional)

Heat a 12-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat for 1 minute, then add the oil and let heat for another 30 seconds — it should be hot but not smoking. Stir in pork and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned and crisp, 6 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Return pan to heat and add more oil if it looks dry. Stir in green beans, cook until they are crisp, tender and bright green, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in chiles, ginger, garlic, coriander seeds and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer.

Return pork to skillet, along with chopped cilantro, vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. Stir briefly to combine, then scrape into a serving platter.

Sprinkle more vinegar and soy sauce on top to taste, then top with more chopped cilantro. Serve with rice, and sliced tomato, if you like.

Shan Noodles

Shan noodles can be served over a bed of rice noodles or served with broth.

1 lb chicken (or pork), chopped
8 oz. dried Shan noodles (rice noodles)
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
8 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder (optional)
8 tablespoons peanuts, crushed
2 scallions, chopped (for garnishing)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

Place the dried noodles in a large bowl of cold water.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off the heat, and place the dried rice noodles.

Heat oil in a large wok. Fry the onions, garlic and ginger for 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chili powder and continue to stir fry for minute.
Add the chopped chicken (or pork), tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir well. Add soy sauce and sugar and cook over a medium heat for 15 minutes until all tomatoes are crushed.

Put a handful of noodles into a bowl. Add 4 tablespoons of chicken curry, crushed peanuts and adjust with soy sauce to taste. Add a few spring onions. Serve immediately with pickled mustard greens (optional).

Chinese Pork Fried Rice

2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil) (*Footnote 1)
1 lbs (450 g) ground pork
3 tablespoons oyster sauce , separated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 green onions , chopped
3 cloves garlic , minced
3 eggs , beaten
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn)
3 cups leftover steamed rice
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons sesame oil

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ground pork. Stir and cook until browned, 2 minutes.

Add the green onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice. Cook and stir to mix everything together. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oyster sauce and soy sauce. Stir to mix the sauce with the other ingredients.

Add the mixed vegetables. Stir everything together and cook until the vegetables defrost, 1 minute or so.

Move everything to one side of the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the other side of the pan. Add the beaten eggs. Let the bottom set for a couple seconds. Then scramble the eggs and use your spatula to cut them into small pieces. Then mix the eggs with the other ingredients.

Taste the rice and add salt to adjust the seasoning, if needed, then mix well again. If you like slightly crispy rice, let the rice sit on the hot pan for 20 to 30 without stirring.

Add the sesame oil and mix everything again. Transfer the fried rice onto serving plates.

Serve hot as a main or side dish.

Thai Pork Fried Rice

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon white sugar
4 cups cooked and chilled jasmine rice
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced, reserved separately
1 large shallot, minced (4 tablespoons)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sliced cucumber and lime wedges, to serve

In a bowl, stir together the fish sauce, soy sauce, water and sugar. Set aside. Use your hands to break up the rice so no clumps remain. Set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl in the oil, then pour in the eggs. Cook, stirring, until just set. Transfer the eggs to a plate. Add the pancetta to the wok and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the plate with the eggs.

Return the wok to medium-high until just smoking. Add the scallion whites, shallot and garlic, then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry until softened, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir-fry until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Stir the fish sauce mixture to recombine, then pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry until well mixed. Stir in the pancetta, egg (breaking up the egg) and cilantro. Transfer to a large platter and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serve with cucumber and lime wedges.

Kuy Teav (Cambodian Rice Noodle Soup)

3 lb pork neck
2 teaspoons dried shrimp
2 teaspoons fish sauce
3 hard-boiled eggs , quartered
1 lb rice noodles
1 lb ground pork
3 teaspoons rice wine
3 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 lb raw shrimp , peeled and deveined
Salt
Kampot white pepper
Garnish
2 handfuls bean sprouts
1/2 bunch cilantro , chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (or more, to taste)
2 limes, quartered

In a saucepan over high heat, boil the pork necks for 10 minutes after reaching boiling point.

Drain and discard the cooking water.

Put the pig’s necks back in the pot and fill with enough water to cover the bones by at least 2 inches.

Add the dried shrimp and mix.

Simmer on low heat for 3 hours, until the meat comes off the bones.

Slowly skim all the foam that forms on the surface of the broth. Add boiling water to maintain the same level, if necessary.

Remove the necks from the broth using a skimmer and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Remove the meat from the bones and set aside.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Simmer the broth over low heat while the rest of the recipe is prepared.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, cook the noodles for 30 seconds, drain and rinse immediately with cold water.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the minced pork and mix well. (Crush the ground meat as you cook with a mashed press).

Add rice wine, soy sauce and honey. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.

Add the pork neck meat and the sesame oil, mix and reserve.
Bring the broth to a boil over a high heat.

Place the shrimp in a metal colander and immerse it in the pot to cook the shrimp for 10 minutes in the simmering broth.

Remove the colander, drain and reserve the shrimp.

Divide the noodles into 4 large bowls.

Add the shrimp, pork, and a little of each topping to each bowl: soy sprouts, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, fish lsauce, Sriracha chili sauce, lemons)

Pour the broth into each bowl and place pieces of hard-boiled egg on top. Serve very hot with additional toppings on the side.

Vietnamese Grilled Lemongrass Pork (Thit Heo Nuong Xa)

You can use this marinade with small pieces of pork and thread them on skewers and dip them in some nuoc cham dipping sauce. If there’s no lemongrass, use about 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder instead. Slicing the pork at the end is a traditional Vietnamese approach to eating meat as the pieces are easier to pick up with chopsticks. Enjoy with rice, a stir-fried or grilled vegetable and a quick soup (canh). Feel free to stuff leftovers into banh mi sandwiches and use them for bun rice noodle salad bowls.

Ingredients

1 pound boneless pork shoulder steak, about 1/2 inch thick

Marinade

1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped shallot or yellow onion
1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and finely chopped (3 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon dark (black) soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oil

Cut the pork shoulder steak into pieces about 3 to 4 inches big. Set aside.

Put the sugar, garlic, shallot and lemongrass into an electric mini chopper and process to a fine texture. (Or, mince the garlic, shallot, and lemongrass individually, put them into a bowl, and add the sugar.) Add the pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, and oil and process to combine well. Aim for a relatively smooth texture. The marinade will be chocolate brown. Transfer to a bowl.

Add the pork, and turn to coat well. Cover and set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 hour. Or, refrigerate up to 24 hours, letting the meat sit out at room temperature for 45 minutes to remove some of the chill before grilling.

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes, turning frequently, until cooked through. Nick with a knife to test. Transfer to a plate, loosely cover with foil or an inverted bowl for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Peking Meat Sauce Noodles (Zha Jiang Mian)

9 ounces dried spaghetti
5 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves and/or radish greens
1 large handful bean sprouts
5 or 6 red radishes, thinly sliced then cut into matchsticks (1 cup total)
2 Persian cucumbers or 1/2 English or Armenian cucumber, seeded and cut into matchsticks
6 ounces (3/4 cup) ground pork or chicken thigh
Scant 1 teaspoon dry sherry or Shaoxing rice wine
3 tablespoons light (white) miso
3 tablespoons red (aka) miso
1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin (optional)
1 tablespoon regular or gluten-free soy sauce
Scant 1/4 teaspoon MSG
2 teaspoons canola or other neutral oil
1/3 cup lightly packed finely chopped green onion, white and green parts
Generous 1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)
Chile oil, chile garlic sauce, sambal oelek, sriracha

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until chewy-tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside to drain well.

Put the spinach and bean sprouts in two separate bowls. Add very hot water (use a kettle to heat the water) to just cover. Let sit for 1 to 3 minutes (longer for the sprouts), until softened. Drain separately and set aside with the radishes and cucumber.

Mix the ground meat with the sherry. Combine the two kinds of miso, hoisin, soy sauce, and MSG (or other seasoning powder). Keep near the stove.

Set a deep skillet or shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil. When shimmering, add the seasoned pork. Stir vigorously with a fork to break up the meat into small pieces. When well broken up, add the green onion, stirring constantly. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds longer before adding the miso mixture.

Once the miso and meat are well combined, add the water. Adjust the heat to low. Let gently cook for 2 minutes (expect no bubbling action) to combine and slightly darken. Turn off the heat, then stir in the garlic. Cool a few minutes, taste and if needed, add a tiny splash of water to thin out. Set aside. Use warm or slightly above room temperature.

To serve, you may set out the noodles, meat sauce, bean sprouts, cucumber, spinach, and radish for people to compose their own bowls. Or, divide the components up among four (4) individual pasta or noodle bowls and let people mix things up themselves. Alternatively, make one giant bowl and toss at the table and serve. Offer chile oil or sauce for people to add heat. Spoon and fork are my utensils of choice.

Thai Pork (or Chicken) Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay Ingredients

1/2 lb (500 grams) pork or chicken, cut
into thin slices about 1″ wide and 3″ long
2 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp. soy sauce
30 bamboo sticks

Peanut Sauce Ingredients

2 tbsp. red curry paste
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. peanuts
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. tamarind juice
2 tbsp. coconut cream

Marinate pork or chicken for 30 minutes with all the satay ingredients.

To prepare the peanut sauce, heat coconut cream over medium heat and add curry paste mix well and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until thick and sauce-like.

Skewer the marinated pork or chicken onto the bamboo sticks. Grill over hot coals until cooked.

Serve with dipping sauce and cucumber salad.

Thai Satay (Chicken, Beef, or Pork)

1 1/2 lb. boneless chicken breast, beef, or pork
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground turmeric
3-4 shallots, peeled and sliced thin crosswise
1 stalk fresh lemon grass, sliced thin crosswise
1/4 inch piece of fresh galangal
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. sugar
20 bamboo skewers
2 Tbsp. cooking oil, canola or peanut

Slice meat into long thin slices, approximately 1/4″ thick and 2″ in length. Pat dry with paper towels.

Dry roast coriander seeds for a minute or two in a wok over medium heat to roast lightly, stirring often.

Grind the coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder (reserved for spices).

Combine all the spices with the shallot, lemon grass, galangal and garlic together in a bowl.

Add meat to the marinade and mix well to cover meat. Allow to marinate for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Before cooking, soak bamboo skewers in water for at least 10 minutes, so that they will not burn.

Skewer 2 to 3 pieces of meat onto each stick. Grill over a hot fire until cooked through. Baste with cooking oil after turning.

Serve with rice and a cucumber salad.

Chicken (or Pork) with Holy Basil (Pad Ga Prao)

1 lb boneless chicken thighs, coarsely chopped, or cut into small bite-size pieces (or an equivalent amount of chopped pork)
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-3 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with 1/2 cup sliced onion)
2-3 tbsp peanut oil for stir-frying
2 tsp black soy sauce (the semi-sweet kind, siew dohm)
1-2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam bplah), to taste
1 cup fresh Thai holy basil (bai gka-prow)
2 small kaffir lime leaves (bai ma-gkrood), very finely slivered (optional)
5-10 Thai chillies (prik kee noo), chopped and pounded with a mortar and pestle; or 2-3 fresh jalapeno or fresno peppers, cut into large slivers
Dash of ground white pepper

Prepare the ingredients as indicated. Leave the fresh basil leaves whole; the flowers may also be used. The dried holy basil will soften when soaked in tap water for 10-15 minutes. Pull off and discard the hard stems. Drain.

Heat a wok until the surface is smoking hot. Swirl in the oil to coat the wok surface. Wait a few seconds for the oil to heat, then stir in the garlic, followed a few seconds later with shallots. Stir another few seconds before adding the chicken. Stir-fry a minute or two, or until most of the chicken has started to change color on the outside and is no longer pink.

Toss in the chillies, slivered kaffir lime leaves and reconstituted dried holy basil (if using). Sprinkle black soy sauce over the mixture and stir-fry another 15-20 seconds. Then add fresh basil leaves and fish sauce to taste. Stir and mix well. Stir-fry another half a minute, or until the basil is wilted and the chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with white pepper. Stir and transfer to a serving dish, or spoon directly over individual plates of plain steamed rice.