Confession: I'm not a "greens" girl. I find them a little frightening, actually. First off, they're always hiding dirt--lots of it--in their fat, curly leaves. Second, they've got stiff, stringy ribs to deal with. Third, once you actually get them prepped for cooking and in the pot, they wilt down into almost nothing! What the heck? I'm not going to all that effort for a piddly pile of greens!
I also had a run in with some pretty bitter kale once, and I've been gun-shy ever since. Bitter green stuff is not the stuff of dreams. At least my dreams, anyways.
But I was drawn to this recipe because it actually uses two kinds of greens I like, baby bok choy and broccolini. Yes, the broccolini is slightly bitter, but next to silky baby bok choy, it somehow works. The bok choy melts down and is the perfect foil for the sturdier stalks of broccolini.
The dried mushrooms and black bean sauce add richness to the dish, and paired with some steamed rice, you've got a healthy and relatively easy dinner. And I even ate my greens, like the brave girl I am.
Stir-Fried Greens with Pork, Shiitakes, and Back Bean Sauce from Sunset Best Recipes 2010 serves 4
2 boned pork chops (8 oz. total), fat trimmed 12 whole dried shiitake mushrooms* 1 1/4 cups warm reduced-sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce 3/4 lb. broccolini or Chinese broccoli 3/4 lb. baby bok choy 3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil, divided 1/2 large onion, cut lengthwise into slivers 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced **TKW's additions: 1/2 cup sliced carrot, 1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced, chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, red pepper flakes
Put pork chops on a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap airtight. Freeze just until firm to the touch, at least 2 and up to 3 hours. Cut into very thin diagonal slices.
In a small bowl, soak mushrooms in broth until soft and pliable, 20 to 30 minutes; occasionally work mushrooms with your fingers to release any grit. Lift mushrooms from broth, squeezing out liquid. Gently fold each mushroom in half, gill side out, and trim off any hard stems. *I couldn't find dried shiitakes, so I used a mix of several dried mushrooms and it worked fine.
Pour 1/2 cup soaking broth into a measuring cup and set aside. Pour 1/4 cup soaking broth into a measuring cup, leaving grit behind (add water if needed to make 1/4 cup); stir in black bean sauce.
Meanwhile, trim ends from green vegetables. Peel broccolini stems, then cut into 3-inch lengths. Rinse and set aside. Cut remaining green vegetables into 3-inch lengths, separating clusters of bok choy into single stalks; rinse and drain.
Set a wok or 5-to-6-quart pan over high heat. When hot, pour in 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Add pork, onion and ginger and fry, stirring occasionally, until meat is mostly cooked but still a bit pink, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with slotted spoon.
Add broccolini stems, shiitakes, and reserved 1/2 cup soaking broth to pan and cover quickly. Cook until stems are barely tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Uncover and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and rest of green vegetables. Cook, stirring, until leaves and flowers wilt, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Return pork mixture to pan along with reserved black bean liquid; cook until bubbling.