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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
You know those days when sports and homework,  after-school activities and working late, favorite tv shows and a lonely book are all vying for that same coveted evening time slot? You mean every night? Well, I think it's essential to have a good dozen 30-minute meals in your back pocket. At least.

I'm talking in addition to refrigerator soup omelets and stir-fry. Let's call them "back pocket meals". Meals that don't require much thought. Meals that don't require you to consult a mil-long recipe and a laundry list of ingredients. Meals that don't add any stress to your already insane day.

This is one of those meals. Put it in your back pocket.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
It's also nice if those meals are substitution-friendly.  While these spicy green beans and pork over rice will probably bring cravings all on their own, you could also try switching the ground pork out for ground chicken, and the green beans for broccoli. Heck, go crazy and serve it over noodles instead of rice.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
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Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: stir-fry entree dairy-free nut-free green beans pork rice Chinese

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1-1/2 cups medium grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable, peanut, or olive oil + a drizzle
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated (with a microplane or finely minced)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • ground white pepper

Combine rice with 3 scant cups of water and a big pinch of salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to its lowest setting for 15 minutes. Turn off and run a fork through the rice.

While the rice is cooking, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Snap the ends off the green beans and cut them in half. Add them to the water once it boils and let simmer for 3 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain immediately.

While these are both going, heat the oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium. Add the pork and season with about a 1/4 teaspoon of salt and white pepper. Cook, breaking up, until browned through, ~5 minutes. Drain off any grease.

Add another drizzle of oil to the pan, and add the pork back to it, along with the grated garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, then add the hot drained green beans, as well. Add remaining ingredients and stir to until everything is well coated. Cook over medium, stirring most of the time, for 3-5 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with more white pepper (or crushed red chile pepper) as needed.

Serve the green bean and pork mixture over the hot rice.

Using 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red chile peppers adds a nice amount of heat; enough to make your nose run a tiny bit and fire up your senses. If you like it so hot it hurts, add a full teaspoon (or more).

You could also forgo the rice and serve this over noodles, if you wish.

Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Pork
Do you have any 30 minute meals hanging out in your back pocket that you can share?