Pacific Pork Kebabs with Pineapple Rice

For the kebabs:
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut in to cubes
2 medium-sized red bell peppers, cut in to large-ish pieces
Glaze 

For the glaze:
1/3 c. honey
2 Tbsp. pineapple juice
salt and pepper

For the rice:
1 c. cooked rice
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved, pineapple coarsely chopped (use the reserved juice in the glaze)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

 

I did as much in advance as I could, slicing the scallions and breaking down the red peppers the night before and putting them in airtight containers in the fridge; draining the pineapple and mixing the glaze in mid-afternoon; all I had to do at dinner time was cut up the pork, thread the kabobs, and grill.

My experience with pork is that it is a fickle meat, difficult to cook thoroughly but remain tender. Usually I put it in the slow-cooker with a whole bottle of barbecue sauce and let it slow cook all day. Jim usually buries it in sauerkraut in a glass casserole and bakes it until it is cooked through and the whole house smells of sauerkraut. This recipe sounded so simple, sweet, and sticky, and looked so golden, and it’s Martha Stewart-approved, so it must be a Good Thing.

I think that if we had a real grill, not a grill pan on the stovetop, this would have cooked more quickly and evenly, and would have been less messy toward the end, when the pork juices and the glaze combined in the pan to form a smoky, sticky mess. Despite those obstacles, the meat turned out golden, not overly too sweet (even though we drizzled glaze every time we turned the kebabs), and incredibly moist and tender. I took off most of the fat when I was prepping the meat, so the meat really shone and there was no tough pieces.

As far as the rice, I think I needed to add some pineapple juice or honey, or a bit of both, to sweeten it; the scallions gave a bitter oniony bite with no counter. The rice needed the peppery-sweet pork to balance it, so to stand on its own it needs a sweet flavor to balance the onion, the chopped pineapple just didn’t cut it. I’d also be happy to serve the kebabs with plain ol’ rice. I’m simple. And we’re looking forward to making this recipe again when we have a house, not an apartment, and a real grill in the backyard.

Advertisements

The hack for this recipe came from good ol’ Betty Crocker via the web. We chose neither to skewer the chicken on kabobs nor broil it: we merely grilled the bite-sized cubes of chicken loose on our stove-top grill pan.

Oh, and we used store-bought peanut sauce. Why make a week-night meal more trouble than it has to be?

For the marinade, I chose to leave out the garlic, and we used boneless skinless chicken breasts, not the bone-in breasts recommended by the recipe. We marinated the cubed chicken for almost a full 24 hours.

Marinade:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed

The marinade has a salty-sweet savour that DH loves, and that brings out the citrus flavour in the peanut sauce. We served the peanut sauce in a small dipping bowl on the side, at room temperature. The marinade became a slightly thick, sticky teriyaki-style glaze on the grill. DH chose not to use a lot of the peanut sauce since he so loved the flavours in the marinade, and I chose to use the sauce liberally because for me, the whole adventure was just about the peanut sauce.

It takes a little bit of advance planning to prepare, because of the intense marinading, and we’re used to not deciding until midafternoon what we’re having for dinner, but it was more than worth the effort of remembering to cube and marinate the chicken the night before, and this simple, fast recipe has more than earned a place in our dinnertime rotation.