Stir-Fried Orange-Flavored Ground Pork in Lettuce


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Wolfgang PuckAs you'll see when you make the following main course or appetizer recipe adapted from my Chinois restaurants, you'll feel like you're done cooking almost before you've started. Which is exactly how you want.

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  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/4 C. peanut oil
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. bottled Hoisin sauce (from the Asian food section of the market)
  • 1/2 C. finely julienned fresh scallions

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In a large nonreactive bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, pepper and orange zest. Add the ground pork and stir thoroughly with a fork to combine the meat and seasonings. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. About 15 minutes before cooking begins, remove the pork from the refrigerator. Prepare the lettuce C. Through its stem end, cut the head of iceberg lettuce in half. Cut out the stem and core and discard any blemished outer leaves. Gently separate 8 to 12 good-sized, C.-shaped leaves. Fill a mixing bowl with ice and water and immerse the leaves in the ice water to make them extra-crisp. Cut the remaining lettuce into thin julienne strips and set aside in a bowl to use as a garnish. In a small nonreactive bowl, stir together the orange juice and cornstarch until the cornstarch has dissolved completely. Set aside. Measure the peanut oil, rice vinegar and Hoisin sauce into small individual containers and have them ready on the counter close to the stove. Heat a large wok or saute pan over medium-high heat. When the wok or pan is hot, add the peanut oil. When the oil is hot enough to swirl easily and just beginning to give off the slightest wisps of smoke, carefully add the pork. Stir-fry the pork, moving it around the wok or pan in a constant motion with a wok spatula or large metal spoon, breaking up the meat into small pieces as you stir. Continue stir-frying until the pork is cooked through and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Pour in the rice vinegar and quick stir and scrape to deglaze the pan deposits and mix the vinegar with the meat. Quickly stir the orange juice-cornstarch mixture, add it along with the Hoisin sauce, and continue stir-frying until a glossy, thickly sauced mixture forms, 3 to 5 minutes more. Drain the lettuce C. and quickly pat them dry with paper towels. Distribute the lettuce julienne evenly among the C. and spoon the ground pork mixture on top of the julienne. Garnish with shredded scallion. Transfer the C. to a serving platter or individual plates and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

(Chef Wolfgang Puck's new TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)



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