Wish Upon A Dish: Pork Lo Mein

February 13, 2013

Pork Lo Mein

I really don't remember the last time I ordered Chinese Take Out. Has to be at least 10 years ago or more.
With my love of Chinese food and three very highly talked about take out joints right in town, that even surprised The Nudge when I told him.
What I did not tell him was that I do not do take-out because he does not like the food on take out menu's.
He simply asks me to just get him an eggroll.
He's no fun at all.

Me on the other hand, wants them all and could order enough food to last me a week and never tire of it. As a matter of fact, I do remember the last time I ate take-out and it was when The Nudge took his first business trip to Sweden.
That whole week was the first time alone since I was single. A week from hell. The shower sprung a leak and it took me two days to replace the washer (don't ask). I must have run up and down 3 flights of stairs twenty times just to turn the water back on and off. At one point it was shooting from one end of the tub to the other. When finally done, I treated myself to a bottle of wine and Chinese Take-Out for dinner. That was over 12 years ago.

I must have a mean craving for soy sauce since this is the second Asian dish in one month, both recipes coming from Cook's Illustrated.

Orange Chicken aside, this was the first time with this recipe. Let's see, the last time I made Lo Mein was probably just about as long ago as the last time I replaced a washer instead of calling the plumber.

Pork Lo Mein
Serves 6

* 3 tablespoons soy sauce 
* 2 tablespoons oyster sauce 
* 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce 
* 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 
* 1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder 
* 1 pound boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed of surface fat and excess gristle and sliced crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces 
* 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke 
* 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth 
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch 
* 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons) 
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger 
* 4 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
* 4 tablespoons Chinese rice cooking wine (Shao-Xing) or dry sherry (see note) 
* 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps cut in halves or thirds (about 3 cups) 
* 2 bunches scallions, whites thinly sliced and greens cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups) 
* 1 small head Napa or Chinese cabbage, halved, cored, and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (about 4 cups) 
* 12 ounces Chinese egg noodles (fresh) or 8 ounces dried linguine 
* 1 tablespoon Asian Garlic Chili Sauce

1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.
2. Whisk soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and five-spice powder together in medium bowl. Place 3 tablespoons soy sauce mixture in large zipper-lock bag; add pork and liquid smoke, if using. Press out as much air as possible and seal bag, making sure that all pieces are coated with marinade. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. Whisk broth and cornstarch into remaining soy sauce mixture in medium bowl. In separate small bowl, mix garlic and ginger with 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil; set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add half of pork in single layer, breaking up clumps with wooden spoon. Cook, without stirring, 1 minute. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons wine to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and pork is well coated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer pork to medium bowl and repeat with remaining pork, 1 teaspoon oil, and remaining 2 tablespoons wine. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.
4. Return skillet to high heat, add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, and heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add scallions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until scallions are wilted, 2 to 3 minutes longer; transfer vegetables to bowl with pork.
5. Add remaining teaspoon vegetable oil and cabbage to now-empty skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Clear center of skillet; add garlic-ginger mixture and cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir garlic mixture into cabbage; return pork-vegetable mixture and chicken broth-soy mixture to skillet; simmer until thickened and ingredients are well incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
6. While cabbage is cooking, stir noodles into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, 3 to 4 minutes for fresh Chinese noodles or 10 minutes for dried linguine. Drain noodles and transfer back to Dutch oven; add cooked stir-fry mixture and garlic-chili sauce, tossing noodles constantly, until sauce coats noodles. Serve immediately.

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