Friday, April 30, 2010

Pork or Chicken in Peanut Sauce

I'm not going to lie. This is one of my all time favorite freezer meals. It's freezer Friday and I have been holding out on you. It's one I share with a lot of friends and family members when they have need of meals, because it is essentially so simple to make, and full of ingredients that I don't have to find at special Gourmet shops. In fact, the vegetables I chose are totally domestic easy to find vegetables that I am usually chopping for other freezer meals anyway, so it also fits easily into a cooking session when I am making several freezer meals at once. It takes a very short time to make as a regular meal...and also doubles as a freezer meal. I often make a meal for dinner that will double as a freezer meal. It's a great way to build up your arsenal by simply cooking dinner and setting aside half to go in the freezer for a meal later. This meal is called a "topper". My husband Ace used to call people "toppers". You know who they are. A topper is someone you tell a story to, and they "top" you by telling you a bigger grander story that they have done. Ace could almost always be a topper when it comes to car stories...and very often when people are telling him about some feat they've done in cars, he will listen and ask them questions about their car...and they have no idea who he is or what he's done with cars. It makes me happy that he just builds people up. It's rare in a person. It's rare in a dinner. But that's exactly what these "topper" dinners do...they make your rice or pasta better, without boasting of themselves. They won't need to boast, you can tell by how they taste. Refreshing isn't it? The only preparation on this meal that takes a little time, is the chopping...but my kids love to chop and so it turns into a family project.

Tess' Pork or Chicken in Peanut Sauce
(yield 12 3/4 cup servings rice topper)

5 lb boneless skinless pork loin, cut into cubes (chicken boneless skinless thigh meat works)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sliced garlic
1/2 cup peanut butter
1T sesame oil
1T chile paste or hot sauce
3 large onions, chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Directions: Get all your stuff together. Yes, I know it's technical, but if you don't you will inevitably be out of vinegar...or peanut butter.

In a large 12 inch skillet, on high heat, add the sesame oil to the pan. Add the pork and cook stirring frequently 5-7 minutes until browned nicely.

Add the bulky veggies. My onion was a little young when I took it from the garden...but it worked fine to use the bottom ends. You can also use green onions, if you use the light ends.
Cook the vegetables with the pork, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic. Yes, it sounds like a lot of garlic, but if I eat that much garlic then the Cullen's won't come to dinner...and you Twilight people will finally get some alone time with Edward. I know how important that is. Again...dude, he's a fictional character and he will never love you. I'm just saying. Eat garlic. Move on.
Oh...and when the garlic is nice and tender, add the peanut butter and remaining ingredients to the pan. 87 year old FIL, Mr. Putt Putt, likes to keep peanut butter in his bedroom next to his easy chair. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. Yes, he putts around with spoons like this upcoming picture. Another random fact...did you know that mice like peanut butter?
Ask me how I figured that out. wasn't when I was making this dinner. Jerry the mouse did not run across the kitchen floor, peanut butter spoon in hand, and in a almost frenzied speed of escape knock himself cold while watching me chase him with a broom. That didn't happen...but it would make a good cartoon.

Once the sauce has simmered with the meat and vegetables about 2 minutes, add the chopped cilantro.

Divide into 3 dinners for a family of 4, or two for a family of 6. Or 6 meals for a family of 2 with very small children. You can serve one for dinner over rice, or just put them all in the freezer. We usually serve one of the dinners that night. It's also very good over rice noodles.

To freeze: Place meat mixture in Three One quart freezer bags when it has cooled enough to scoop without melting bags. Seal bags very well. You might want to double the bags if you are worried about spilling. Bags need to be labeled before adding the mixture, or it will be hard to write on them, and also easy to puncture with writing utensils.
Lay bags in the fridge out flat to cool. Never cool at room temperature and then transfer to the freezer, you risk food born illness. When cool transfer to the freezer. Keep the freezer cold. Check the meals after two hours to be sure they are freezing. Never stack warm meals on top of each other. Only stack once frozen.
Label clearly: "defrost in the fridge 24 hours or out of bag, in the microwave 3-5 minutes on 50% power. To serve, heat 3-5 minutes on high in the microwave or 5-7 minutes on the stove in a skillet. I usually cook the rice while I heat the topper. It's very quick.

There you go.


GRAMEE said...

this is on the menu for tomorrow!!..

would be today but the menu for Friday is tacos.. !!lol

my mouth is watering..

Lynnette said...

WOW your sharing this fabulous recipe! this is so yummy! (I was privileged to taste this once) cant wait to try and make it :-) Go Chef Tess!!!

Chef Tess said...

Oh Lynette! I love you! I think when I made it for you guys I didn't use the soy sauce due to the wheat issue, I think it was can be made w/o soy sauce, just be sure to use enough salt in that scenario.

Lynn said...

This looks so good. I am putting it on my schedule to make. I have everything to make this and may even have room in the freezer. If not, I will just give some to my granddaughter. She just moved out and does not know how to cook. Silly girl.

TARA said...

Mmmmm mmmmmm mmmmmmmm.....


Chef Tess said...

I thought it would sound like dinner to you!

Sharron said...

This sounds delicious . . . and I have to try it soon.

I know how, you know that mice love peanut butter. So do the pack rats of southern AZ. Your fantasy cartoon, is my reality lately. I finally found how they are getting in, thank you very much! Blah! They also love little smokeys ;-)

GRAMEE said...

Used it.. WONDERFUL!!
split into 3 meals
only put 2 in the freezer..

Missed Bread of Life today.

Chef Tess said...

Gramee, thank you! It's always good to hear someone try it and love it as much as we do. Bread of Life section has been a little hit and miss depending on if I have any new profound insights during the week. Love that you enjoy it...boy that makes me want to be more diligent.

cobyscorner said...

Can I use regular oil in place of the sesame oil?

Chef Tess said...

Yes, you can use regular oil, *however* the sesame oil adds a totally amazing smoky dimension to the dish that would be totally gone if you didn't use it. 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke works if you don't have sesame oil, but it's totally worth getting and keeping around. I use it almost every time I cook something Oriental.

cobyscorner said...

Ok, so I just made this. I took your advice and got the sesame oil. It is so amazing. After I packaged up everything for the freezer (6 meals for us!), I was literally scraping the pan with my fork to eat any leftovers that didn't make it into the baggies! I ended up having to use my soup pot since I don't have a skillet big enough for everything. Thank you, so tasty! I love freezer cooking!

Saren said...

Fabulous recipe! Finally made it for dinner tonight. Freezer meal?? Oh, no! The entire thing was eaten with just enough left for someone to have lunch tomorrow! lol Even the 6yr old loved it, giving encouragement to his brothers how to mix it with the rice, stating it is "Yumm-O!" Micheal really liked it, too. This is definitely going in the 'make it again' file.
Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

Is "hot sauce" the same as tabasco sauce?

Chef Tess said...

Both will work, as long as the hot sauce is mostly cayanne and vinegar.

Anonymous said...

My question is what kind of onion does the recipe call for. You said "3 onions" which makes me think of the big white ones. Is that correct? Or is it 3 green onions? Confused and I don't want to ruin this! :-)

Chef Tess said...

It's funny that you ask that. My onion was in fact a white onion from my garden, it was just really young so it looks like a green onion. Yes. White onion works amazing in this dish.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. I have a baby shower to attend that requested freezer meals instead of gifts. Looks delicious and easy. Mahalo!