Pan-Tossed Green Beans and Pork

As you can imagine, a lot has changed since I had my daughter a year and a half ago. I used to enjoy the challenge of recipes that took a bit of time, skill, and rapt attention and thought the extra work and care gave it the made-with-love charm. I’ve since revised that opinion and have a great appreciation for simplicity. Simplicity requires a different kind of attention, one that allows you to look deep into a process or ingredient. I like that it’s easier to identify what is working or lacking and that it’s practicality makes it also easy to adapt.

Pan-Tossed Green Beans and Pork was made on a whim and posted on Instagram a few weeks back. There was some interest in it, so I scribbled down some notes the next time I made it, to post here. My mom gave a very enthusiastic thumbs up (and was just as excited to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day) so I consider it worthy to post.

Chopping the green beans is the most time-consuming part, but the rest comes together very quickly. There are many possible variations (adding green onions, substituting the pork for beef, asparagus for green beans, adding bamboo shoots, etc.) but I’ll leave that up to you. The basic recipe here suits me just fine.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Here are other great (not necessarily Japanese) recipes that are beautiful in their simplicity:
– Marcela Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
– Nicholas Day’s Macaroni Peas
Arugula Pesto via xo breakfast
– Alice Waters’ White Beans with Garlic and Herbs
Sukiyaki Donburi
Banana Pancakes via Oh Joy!
– Renee Erickson’s Sautéed Dates for my morning oatmeal

If you have any simple favorites, please share! In the meantime, hope you like this enough to add to your repertoire.

Pan-Tossed Green Beans and Pork
Makes 4 to 5 servings

0.5 lb (220g) ground pork
1 Tbsp canola oil
13 oz (370g) green beans, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sake (or water)
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp shoyu

Heat a large pan over medium and cook the pork, breaking into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When no longer pink, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

In the same pan, heat the oil, then add the green beans and toss to coat. Cook for a couple mins, tossing occasionally. Add the sake, toss again, and let it cook off.

Once green beans begin to brown, lower the heat to medium-low, add the garlic and toss more. Once fragrant, add the pork, oyster sauce, and shoyu. Toss, toss, toss. Once heated through, it’s done. Serve over and mix in with steamed rice.

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  1. Patrice Marie
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Everything in moderation ……! Even “vegans” should toss a wonderful “Meaty” “flavour”
    in their skillets. I applaud all of your recipes. Cooking , and enjoying good food has to be — part of — the best things in life. ……. OMG, OMG ….. AH……. JAPANESE!! I’m still a real fan.

  2. Posted July 10, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Azusa – welcome back! This recipe is now in my regular rotation, with a few minor adaptations: adding diced rehydrated shiitake, minced garlic (not in your ingredient list but mentioned in the instructions), and mixing the ground pork with corn starch and dark+light soy. My family loves it; it’s homestyle cooking at its best. Thank you!

  3. Posted July 10, 2015 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Min, thank you for your comment! I love the addition of dried shiitake to boost the umami factor. I’ll definitely give it a try next time. Thank you for catching the garlic!

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