I am always searching for new and exciting things to make for dinner. Be it chicken, beef or pork, there never seems to be enough different recipes to keep me from getting bored with my menus.
Lately beef has been too expensive to do much experimenting with so that leaves chicken and pork. Chicken is far easier to work with than pork because I usually cook with dark meat which is naturally tender and juicy. New recipes typically turn out edible at the very least. Pork on the other hand is hard. It tends to be tough or dry when not cooked “just right,” and there are not an infinite amount of recipes out there for pork chops like there are for chicken.
Last night I decided to try a recipe for pork that included a gravy made with garlic and balsamic vinegar. It called for pork tenderloin, which I did not have, so instead I decided to tenderize the pork I had, which was a mishmash of chops and pieces that ended up in a bag together in the freezer. I figured if I could get the pork tender, the meal would at least be edible. To my surprise, I ended up with a new pork recipe that everyone liked.
Tender Pork with Garlic & Balsamic Vinegar Gravy
I served this pork with mashed potatoes, but it could easily be served with rice or noodles too.
- 1 – 3 Pounds Pork sliced very thin
- 1/2 Cup Corn Starch
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
- 2 Envelopes Brown Gravy Mix
- 2 1/2 Cups Water Divided
- 3/8 Cup Soy Sauce
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Cup Corn Starch
- Lard or Bacon Grease for frying
- 1-2 Pounds Fresh Mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Large Onion sliced thin
The best method I know of to tenderize pork is to slice it thin and soak it in a corn starch and water slurry with salt and a touch of soy sauce for 30 to 60 minutes. I use about 1/2 cup of corn starch to one cup of water, 1 tsp. salt, and about 2 Tbsp. soy sauce. Make sure all the meat is coated with the mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature as long as it’s not above 75 degrees in your kitchen. Otherwise, let sit in the fridge to marinate.
While the pork is marinating, prepare the gravy. Combine the gravy mix, 1 1/4 cups water, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic in bowl. Mix until blended, set aside.
When ready to cook, heat lard or grease in fry pan. Remove pork from corn starch slurry and dredge through additional 1 cup of corn starch. Fry pork quickly on both sides until brown, it will stick. Remove from pan and set aside. Scrape pan to remove any corn starch breading that remains in the pan. Return pork to pan, add gravy, mushrooms and onion. Stir until all is well coated. Cook on medium, covered for five minutes.
The corn starch coating on the pork will cause the gravy to thicken. Be very careful not to let the gravy burn. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups water and additional salt as needed to pan, stir to incorporate into thickened gravy. Turn heat down to simmer and cook an additional 15 minutes until vegetables are tender and pork is cooked through.
This is the second new pork dish I have made this year and it was as big a hit as the first. Hubby could not say enough about it and both Zeb and Grace raved how much they liked it. Definitely something that I’ll be making again.
I had never used balsamic vinegar before but loved the flavor it gave the gravy. I wasn’t sure how it would meld with the garlic but adding a bit of soy sauce softened the bite of the vinegar and the combination of flavors really made the gravy pop! I might even try this recipe with beef or even chicken, it’s that good.
New recipes are fun to try, especially when they turn out as well as this one, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.