One of the biggest silver linings of this quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic is that I am back to cooking for my family (minus Noah, who frankly no longer needs me cooking for him). But I have had to tweak how I cook. I can’t just make dishes on a whim, running to the grocery store for missed items or to spontaneously shop for something that was requested from one day to the next. I have to plan ahead, and think through how I will use leftovers. I am not a big fan of straight up leftovers, but I will happily eat them if they are reincarnated in a new and delicious way.
So this is my delicious reincarnation of leftover pork. I made a big pork butt (Eliza wanted to know if that was really the part of the pig we were eating – I didn’t tell her that it is actually pork shoulder) for dinner on Sunday night. I seasoned it with a rub of brown sugar, garlic, ground cumin, salt and pepper and cooked it low and slow (200 degrees for 6 hours). I made homemade yeast rolls, two types of cole slaw (one creamy, one vinegar-based) that were flavored with the mustard vinegar sauce that we used as a condiment for our sandwiches. We also had easy but delish roasted potatoes to round out the meal.
There was a lot of pork left over. A lot. We made some sandwiches again for lunch the next day but there was definitely enough left for another dinner. We lost power on Monday and it did not come back until evening, so Monday night we got take out. On Tuesday, I knew I had to do something yummy with the pork. But I wanted it reimagined. My solution was to make pork fried rice, and it was a big hit. It was even better the next day when the leftovers were reheated for lunch. So we got a lot of use out of that pork butt!
(Leftover) Pork Fried Rice
I made a marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, crushed garlic and salt and pepper. (Quantities are to your taste. I use fish sauce very sparingly, like 1 teaspoon, and I love sesame oil and garlic, so I went heavy on those, and used about 1 cup of soy sauce.) I put half of the marinade aside.
Cook 2 cups of rice (I just happened to have wheat jasmine rice on hand, thanks to our grocery store only having funky kinds of rice available for sale when everyone went nuts on staples like toilet paper, flour and… rice?!?) and let it cool.
Slice the pork into 1-inch strips (raw pork would work fine too if you are not planning to make this as a leftover reimagined) and mix in the remaining marinade. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Heat 2 T vegetable oil in a wok (I used a cast iron pan) and cook the pork until browned. Remove and place in a large bowl. Heat 1 or 2 more T of oil and saute the vegetables (I used sliced scallions, onions, broccoli and carrots – didn’t have snow peas or bean sprouts, which would have been good to include). Add some of the reserved marinade and cook until fully incorporated. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the large bowl with the pork. Add a bit more oil and cook 4 beaten eggs, like you would an omelet. Let it fill the entire pan and cook, then cut up with the spoon or a fork and add to the bowl. Heat 1 more T of oil and add the cooled rice. Let it fill the whole pan and crisp up, then add the last of the marinade and stir around. Add the bowl with the pork, egg and veggies and mix until fully incorporated. I added a few more drops of sesame oil because, well, I just love sesame oil.
Serve immediately. I chopped up some scallions to sprinkle on top of each serving. I also made some scallion pancakes to eat along with it. I didn’t think to save any of the marinade to use as a dipping sauce for the pancakes, but next time I will. And the way my family devoured this dish, I think it will get a starring role next time.