Now that my daughter is back home in her apartment (she's doing so well she'll return to work next Friday), I can get back to cooking things that require recipes. For several weeks we've been keeping it pretty simple and I haven't cooked much, or I've cooked things that I've already posted about.
Tonight I adapted a Rachel Ray recipe and came up with a wonderfully spicy-sweet dish. The original recipe, Apricot Chicken, was basically a sweet dish, but I wanted to spice mine up a bit. I also used pork instead of chicken, and thickened the sauce with cornstarch and water.
Every couple of months the Vons supermarket in Yucaipa puts pork sirloins on sale, and I stock up. This meat is like beef sirloin in that it's very tender, and cooks up better than boneless pork chops (which I also use a lot of). Pork sirloins are wonderful for grilling, and I use them for Schwenkbraten and my own Lemon-Garlic Schwenks. Instead of getting tough during grilling, like the boneless chops, this meat gets tender. You should try it sometime with your choice of marinade. Tonight I used it in this recipe:
Spicy Apricot Pork
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pork sirloins (about 12 oz.), cut in bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 T cider or white vinegar
4 dried apricots, diced (it doesn't look like enough, but they expand while cooking)
1 c chicken stock
1/2 c apricot all-fruit spread
1-2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh red chile paste) (I used 2, and it was really spicy-so if you want it milder, just use 1)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp. cold water
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add meat and season with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides; add onion. Cook 5 minutes. Add vinegar to the skillet, and when it evaporates, add the apricots and chicken stock. When the liquid comes to a boil, add the apricot fruit spread and the sambal oelek; stir to combine. Cover pan, reduce heat, and simmer 10-12 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high, add cornstarch-water mixture, and stir until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Serve over hot rice. Makes 3 servings (or 1 normal serving for you and 1 large serving for your hungry spouse!)
PRODUCT REVIEW-Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - Brown Rice
I saw this at the store last time I bought groceries, and since I absolutely CANNOT cook brown rice without burning it, I decided to give it a try. This bag has 2 servings of brown rice in it, and the directions call for you to microwave it on high for 90 seconds. I was pleasantly surprised to see that that's all it took. Perfectly-cooked brown rice. Since I normally cook for two, I plan to stock up on these. 90 seconds to perfect brown rice is worth the extra cost to me.
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