Completely Inauthentic Kung Pau Pork

finished dish

I am guessing that pork tenderloin is a nice bit of meat. I say this as when we get the butcher to make one of our pigs into sausages and bacon for sale to lovely people on the campsite (we are so not set up to make sausages for resale … yet!) they will mince everything up, but always package up the tenderloin and give it to us as if it is something special. Despite keeping pigs we don’t eat a lot of pork – James eats sausages and I eat cured pork, offal and ribs – actually despite keeping animals we don’t eat much meat, so I don’t have much experience in cooking it.

The pile of tenderloins neatly packaged in our freezer was getting larger and something needed to be done about it – especially as another two pigs are heading off to ‘university’ in a week.

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I love reading Conor’s blog One Man’s Meat: it makes me laugh and very hungry  simultaneously. I noticed he had a section on SE Asian food – I had a look around for something I could make with tenderloin – I found a lot of lovely recipes, but decided to make his sort of authentic Kung Pau chicken

I am just going to tell you right now that mine is inauthentic because I kept changing things, not because I don’t think Conor’s recipe is perfect – I do – but because I wanted to use pork, I also wanted to include lots of vegetables. I did however follow his instructions for cooking things separately and it made a huge difference to my usual stirfries – usually I am lazy. I have learnt the error of my ways –  this tasted brilliant.

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The recipe calls for Schezwan peppercorns. James and I are classy people and for our honeymoon we went for two days in early February to an industrial city in Northern France – Lille – as the Eurostar train tickets to there were only about £30 return I think. Paris, Bruge, Ghent etc were all a lot more expensive. While there we ate some nice food and I got very very sick – I don’t think the two were related. Just before I got sick and foreswore food for quite some time I bought a packet of peppercorns – I can’t remember if they were Schezwan or pink peppercorns and to be fair I am not sure I would know the difference. I decided to use these in this recipe – yes they have been lurking at the back of my cupboard for quite some time. Of course our wedding was an equally extravagant and lavish affair – see here – (yeah right – we did have a great time with our friends though)

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In authentic Kung Pau pork tenderloin: pork tenderloin (maybe 400g does this sound right?); 2 leeks, 75g cashews; 2 cloves of garlic chopped; 2cm piece of ginger finely chopped; couple of handfuls of mangetout beans from the freezer (using up veggies from last year now);2tbs of soy sauce; couple of dried chillis; 1 tbs of peppercorns; 1 tbs of rice wine; 1//2 tbs cornflour and a bit more; lots and lots of sunflower oil – I mean a lot.

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Dice the meat. Grind the peppercorns and mix with 1/2 tbs of cornflour, the rice wine and 1/2 tbs of soy sauce. Mix into the pork. Chop the chilli (remove the seeds first), garlic and ginger and mix with the rest of the soy sauce and a scant tsp of cornflour.

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Chop up the leeks and fry in the wok with some oil – add the mangetout (which were blanched before I froze them last early summer). When cooked, remove. Then cook the cashew nuts and remove. Lastly cook the pork in small quantities and remove. Just before you want to eat (we had to put the birds to bed, feed sheep, chase ducks etc., in the intervening time) add the meat, nuts and vegetables into the pan and heat through. Add in the sauce. I found I needed a bit more sauce so added a little more soy sauce and rice wine. Serve with rice.

This is totally a  game changer for me – it really was amazing – thank you Conor.

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N.B. I might have not added the peppercorns to the meat but added them to the dish as I was finishing it off as this is how I make Ottolenghi’s blackpepper, leek and tofu stirfry which is also delicious.

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