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Pork recipes - Ground Pork

Ground pork sometimes gets sidelined because its use in sausage is so prized, and because beef is our culture's default for ground meat, but there are myriad ways to create wonderful dishes that capitalize on ground pork's earthy depth and resonance with strong flavors fruity, tangy, herbaceous and smokey.  

Southeast Asian ideas

Spicy meatballs are great on varied dishes, but why not put them into some crusty French bread with crisp pickled veggies as Bahn Mi?  There are not too many steps in this recipe so it makes a great case for being a weeknight staple. 

It’s truly impressive how much flavor this Thai Basil Pork dish packs for being a quick and easy weeknight meal. Thai basil can be difficult to source; standard Italian basil is a reasonable substitute. Similarly for dark soy sauce: you can opt for regular soy sauce, adding a pinch of brown sugar. To make this a well-rounded meal, I like to add some asparagus or green beans, cut on a bias, about 1 inch pieces. Sautee those first, set them aside, and then add them back to the meat once everything is finished cooking to warm them through.

Thai cuisine also uses ground pork, complemented with cooling vegetables, in Larb.  This recipe creates a classic Larb, and doesn't require any hard-to-source Thai ingredients (except for coriander root for which cumin is a viable substitute; also recall that coriander stems cilantro stems). 

East Asian ideas

We love this braised eggplant pork dish because of its versatility. It can be served over rice or as a “one-pot” noodle dish. Don’t skip the step where you soak the eggplant in a saltwater solution. This helps break down the eggplant more efficiently, resulting in a softer, less oily final product. Ground bean paste may be a difficult ingredient to find but hoisin sauce is not, and it works great as a substitute. If you don’t have a wok, use a standard heavy-bottomed pot (cook time will take a bit longer).

Never made dumplings? Here's a dead-simple introduction. The dough is only two ingredients and it comes together rather quickly. If you don’t have Shaoxing wine, dry sherry is a good substitute. 

American ideas 

Our country, if not necessarily the Mid-Atlantic, is in fact home to some great recipes focused on ground pork. From nearby South Carolina, these BBQ pork burgers are inspired by pulled pork, and packed with flavor with the addition of bacon (!) and spices. Top them with a “homemade” honey-mustard and some crisp cabbage. This porky sandwich gets our fat stamp of approval.

A true one-pot meal, this take on New Orleans Dirty Rice simplifies the traditional recipe a bit, subbing in ground pork for giblets and sausage. You can make this as a side dish or double the amount of ground pork and enjoy it on its own. 

More globetrotting

  • Cuba: Picadillo is called "comfort food," but that label undersells what a sensory explosion its ingredients layer over ground meat, potato and rice (olives! capers! raisins! garlic! tamarind! tomato!).
  • Denmark: Whether you think they're more like "flattened Swedish meatballs" or an actual Scandinavian take on a burger, these Danish pork burgers use dairy and Saltines (!) to create perfect patties.
  • PolandSure it’s easy to find pierogies in the freezer aisle but why not make them yourself?  We recommend serving with sour cream and apple sauce for the full experience.

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