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Mushrooms, ginger, and pork - a perfect combination of flavors with an Eastern twist. This recipe is inspired by Japanese cooking, but does not require any rare ingredients (because I was too lazy to travel to Manhattan for a visit to a Japanese grocery). And I don't regret it, because this pork dish lacks absolutely nothing. It is also not difficult to prepare and requires only 30 minutes to marinate the meat. After this dinner, I am sitting here for once utterly satisfied with myself and life.
All in all, it is rewarding to be a carnivore.

Ready to join me in my kitchen?

What you need:
2 lbs lean pork chops
1 parsnip
2 leeks stems
1 small ginger root, cut into thin longish pieces (~1/4 cup)
2 cups baby shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cups light beer (e.g. Hefeweizen)

for the marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup sesame oil
1 Tbsp fresh ground ginger

How to do it:
1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Wash and dry the pork. Chop it into 2" chunks and submerge in the marinade. Let stand for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a large wok. Add the pork after drying it off with a paper towel and saute on the highest heat until nicely golden on all sides.
3. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 more minutes. Then, add chopped parsnip and half of the ginger, and saute for 3 more minutes.
4. Add beer and 1/2 cup boiling water, stir, lower heat to medium, and cover. Let the meat simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The meat does not have to be submerged in liquid.
5. Add leeks, the rest of the ginger and a bit more water if all liquid has evaporated, stir and let simmer covered for 10 more minutes. At this point test one piece for readiness, and if it's done - so are you!

For the side:
Surprisingly (because it is not Japanese at all!), a side that goes very well with this pork is cauliflower fried in bread crumbs. Making it is simple, but annoying. Here's how it's done:
1. Carve cauliflower and boil for 3 minutes in salty water. Drain and let cool. If you don't pre-cook the cauliflower, it may end up raw in the center after you fry it.
2. Heat oil in the skillet. Dip each piece of the cauliflower in a container with beaten egg, then roll it in breadcrumbs and place in the skillet.
3. Carefully turn each piece of cauliflower several times until it is golden brown on all sides. Remove from the skillet to a prepared container. The frying itself is the annoying part, because cauliflower is too tender to be sauteed, so it has to be gingerly turned from one side to the next.

Most importantly, sit down to it with a glass of your favorite beverage (e.g. Hefeweizen) and savor this food, this weekend, this life!
Douzo meshiagare!
Tags:    alcohol Asian beer challenging international main course meat mushrooms pork
Summary: a main course recipe
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