This recipe is based on a Ching He-Huang recipe from her book ‘Chinese Food in Minutes‘. Both this and her first book (‘Chinese Food Made Easy’) were frequently used during my university days and contain delicious recipes which I’ve made again and again. Since switching over to paleo I haven’t been flicking through these particular books as much until recently when I remember this recipe. As I said the original recipe belongs to Ching, so all credit goes to her, I have just made it paleo by changing a few of the ingredients.
In Chinese cooking anything which is ‘Drunk’ or ‘Drunken’ means it has been cooked with Shaoxing (sh-ow-sing) rice wine. Quite often you’ll see recipes for drunken fish which has been cooked or steamed using this type of fortified wine. Shaoxing rice wine is essentially a Chinese sherry but instead of being made from grapes it is made from fermented rice. Now I know what you’re going to say, “RICE ISN’T PALEO!!!”, yes I am aware of this, however I have two schools of thought on this; number one, life is too short (and yes I know that’s rich coming from the guy who makes his own mayonnaise) and number two, the amount you’re using is not going to upset the paleo balance within you. If you really want it to be 110% paleo then use a dry sherry instead, since this is made from fermented grapes (and grapes are paleo) you won’t be upsetting the paleo gods. It’s up to you, personally having cooked with it in the past I prefer it as it does taste different to a dry sherry when used in cooking, I guess I’d better go and do three Hail Mary’s to the paleo gods to beg for forgiveness.
Anyway back to the food. The recipe is fairly quick to make but please note you will need to make Cauliflower Rice as well. I did not use any onions when making the cauliflower rice and I used coconut oil as a base not olive oil. Olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil) will upset the other delicate flavours of this dish so I would recommend using only coconut oil to make the rice.
In this recipe I have used minced pork from the fantastic meat supplier Athleat whom I would highly recommend. If you’re wanting pure meat which is 100% grass fed, with a simple order and delivery process then they are your one stop shop. I currently have a whole freezer full of Athleat Meat which I will be using in future recipes. Watch this space.
Drunken Pork & Spinach
Preparation to Plate: 20 Minutes
Consume within 2 Days
400-500g Minced Pork
1 Bag of Spinach, washed
2 Cloves of Garlic, grated or crushed
3 Spring Onions, chopped
4cm Piece of Ginger, chopped or grated
20 Cornichon, chopped into discs
1 Cauliflower, for cauliflower rice
Shaoxing Rice Wine, or dry sherry
Sesame Oil, cold pressed
In a large pan melt some coconut oil and add the blitz cauliflower for the cauliflower rice. Keep stirring to avoid burning and if necessary add more coconut oil. In a large wok or skillet melt some more coconut oil and add the chopped spring onions, garlic and ginger. When an aroma starts to develop add the minced pork and cook until nearly all the pink has disappeared from the meat. Now add a splash of shoaxing rice wine, approximately 1-2tbsp, and continue to cook. By this time the cauliflower rice should be cooked so add this now to the pork.
Add the washed spinach to the pan. It may take up all the space initially but it will shrink down once it cooks. If the wok or skillet has a lid this will help it cook down faster.
Once the spinach has cooked down add the cornichon and drizzle over a little balsamic vinegar, approximately 1-2tsp, and stir in.
Leave on the heat for another minute or two, ensuring all the pork is cooked through, then transfer to a large bowl and drizzle over some sesame oil for flavour.
Note for Shift Workers:
This recipe makes enough to serve four people but makes two-three good sized portions for one if you have a long 12 hour shift ahead of you. Take it to work in a Tupperware with a small amount of sesame oil in a bottle and drizzle over when you’re ready to eat. Keep the left overs in the fridge and consume within 2 days. A great recipe if you have run of earlies as all you need to do is decant and go.