Chinese Five Spice Pork & Noodles

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I first discovered Chinese five spice powder when it showed up in my spice order as a free sample and I was immediately hooked.  Chinese five spice powder is an intriguing combination of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, fennel, and anise.  When added to simple ingredients such as pork and noodles it brings the ordinary to extra-ordinary.  Even better, this dish is fast which is the perfect way to end a long week. The original recipe, from Fine Cooking Magazine, calls for using fresh Chinese egg noodles, an ingredient I have yet to be able to find here in Albania. You can make your own or use any long fresh noodle you can find in the refrigerator case of your grocery store.

CHINESE FIVE SPICE PORK & NOODLES

1/3 cup salted peanuts

1/4 cup bacon, cut into thin strips

2 medium cloves, garlic, coarsely chopped

1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 cup peanut oil

3/4 pound ground pork

1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 scallions, trimmed and sliced

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

3/4 pound fresh egg noodles or other fresh pasta

  • Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Coarsely chop the peanuts in a food processor.  Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Place the bacon, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in the food processor and pulse to finely chop.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy skillet set over medium heat.  Add the bacon mixture and cook, breaking it apart with a spoon until the bacon renders most of its fat and darkens somewhat, about 4 minutes.
  • Raise the heat to medium-high and add the pork, five spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.  Cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until it looses its raw color, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the scallions, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.  Keep warm over low heat.
  • Cook the pasta in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain and put it in a large bowl.  Toss in the pork mixture.
  • Divide the pork and noodles amongst four shallow bowls and sprinkle with the reserved peanuts.

Serves 4

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