Asian Inspired Pork with Honey Brussels Sprouts

After going back and forth about what one of my first posts should be, I decided to capitalize on the fact that I’ve been craving Asian flavors lately. Lo and behold, I had some pork chops that I needed to use and the brussels sprouts in my fridge just screamed summertime side. They were also inspired by a dish at one of my favorite restaurants in Capitol Hill, Barrel (see my Yelp review!).

First, I always, always have a small flame going underneath my pans as I prep everything. I’ve learned that some people don’t do this and it makes all the difference in your cooking techniques. I don’t even put butter or olive oil in while they heat, just the bare pan. I add the olive oil/butter once I’m closer to actually cooking so they quickly heat, in the already hot pan, and then we’re ready to roll.

 

The Ingredients

Let’s start with what you’ll need for the pork marinade:

Pork Chops
Soy sauce
Brown Sugar
Olive oil – I used garlic flavored
Lemon juice
Tomato paste
White wine vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
Honey
Fish sauce
Hoisin sauce
Parsley
Rosemary
Basil
Onion
Ginger
Garlic

 

The Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts
Almonds
Honey
Garlic
Olive oil – again, flavored but a mix of basil and garlic flavors
A bit of the pork marinade

 

The Prep

I started prepping the marinade for the pork and, as usual, I kind of just improvised. Throw in about three spoonfuls of brown sugar as a great way to delicately sweeten your marinade. Next, I poured in soy sauce, and a good bit of it because I wanted that to be the main base of the marinade, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and honey. Whisk all these together and taste at this point to make sure you like where it’s going. I drizzled in a small amount of fish sauce since it’s super salty (plus I already had soy sauce).

I knew I wanted my marinade to be a little thicker and meatier, so I squeezed in some tomato paste. Looking back, I would have added even more (about a tablespoon?). I was a tad stingy with it, probably because I had just bought a new tube and wanted it to last.

To finish off the marinade and save myself some sauteing, I added finelychopped onions, ginger, and garlic. Then add whatever herbs you love! I grabbed a good chunk of my rosemary, basil, and parsley and finely copped those and tossed them into the marinade. I tasted again and really wanted it to be a little tangier so I added a bit more brown sugar, honey, and lemon juice.

If you’re someone who likes spicy flavors I can definitely see this being a GREAT addition! Next time I might even add in sriracha sauce or chili powder. Once you’re satisfied with the flavors of the marinade throw the pork in and let them absorb the flavors.

 

The Cooking

I decided that I didn’t want to waste any of this marinade, so I threw some Jasmine rice in a pot to start cooking and I planned to lay the pork on top of a bed of rice. Rice is the BEST for absorbing the delicious juices of meat. I just followed the package instructions, but instead of using mostly water I used beef broth for extra flavor.

Next, slice your brussels sprouts in half so you can get a great color on them once they start cooking. Lay them face down in the pan and make sure to put a lid on them to start so they become soft and tender. DON’T cover them all the way! Condensation will build up on your lid and drip back down into the pan which will make everything soggy. Take some of the pork marinade and, using a small pot, heat it to thicken it. I didn’t use much because I didn’t want everything to become overly salty, but take however much you’re comfortable with.

About halfway through, pour the heated marinade over the brussels sprouts (listen to that sizzle!) and then add lots ‘o honey. To give the brussels sprouts the sweetness I wanted, I used a substantial amount here. Honey caramelizes quickly, so be careful, but the marinade should help deter that.

Add in chopped almonds and let it all cook!

Once you’ve made sure your pan is hot, start the pork. I used a cast iron skillet, (hey Le Creuset I love your stuff so feel free to send me products for review *wink wink*) and layed the pork in first then filled the pan with most of the marinade. The most important thing is to keep the liquids bubbling so your pork cooks in it and stays moist.



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