The Rising Spoon: How to Make a Basic Stir-Fry with Leftover Meat + Fresh Veggies

Monday, December 10, 2012

How to Make a Basic Stir-Fry with Leftover Meat + Fresh Veggies

Yesterday I wrote a post detailing two methods for slow-cooking a large pork shoulder that you can shred and incorporate into multiple meals throughout the week. 

Here is one such quick, nutritious recipe that uses up leftover pork (or any cooked meat you have around). Most stir-frys require a large pan on very high heat in order to cook all the ingredients quickly (not all at once, mind you). 

However, since our meat is already cooked, we don't need to heat the pan to screaming hot, like in typical stir-frys. This lets you use lower-heat cooking oils like olive, sesame and coconut, which means you can pretty much use whatever oil is sulking in your pantry. 

Do oils sulk? I imagine so, especially if they're not used often. Mayhaps you should try personifying more things in your kitchen...

Back to stir-frys. They're typically light on meat and heavy on veggies. A decent basic stir-fry requires onion, garlic, carrot, celery, ginger and soy sauce, at the very leastIf you want to jazz it up, add bean sprouts, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, canned water chestnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc., but make sure to add the veggies in stages, starting with the slowest cooking ones, so that certain veggies don't end up soggy. You want a bit of crunch for texture. 

For an excellent stir-fry, I highly recommend good quality fish sauce and/or oyster sauce alongside soy sauce. You can find them at a local asian or natural foods market. Both sauces gives the stir-fry a delicious umami flavor. But remember to add  them (along with the garlic and toasted sesame oil) at the very end of the process. This way the pan will heat everything through, but nothing will burn or stick to the bottom. 

And if you already have cooked rice, grains, beans (like lentils), or noodles hanging around your fridge, that'll speed up the process. Most likely you don't. To save a bit of time, soak the lentils in water 30 minutes prior to cooking, so they only need about 15 minutes on the stovetop to finish. 

Now that I've given you a few tips for making a basic stir-fry, you can use my favorite recipe or concoct your own. Free-styling dishes off the top of your head is very liberating. That's how I made this stir-fry. :) If you'd like to learn more about stir-frying on high-heat with a wok and raw meat, check out this helpful article
Roasted Pork Stir-Fry with Brown Rice, Lentils & Fresh Veggies
A quick, healthy and filling stir-fry using leftover roast pork, cooked brown rice, lentils and fresh veggies. Nutritious, flavorful and low on prep work. A good way to use up leftover meat or veggies. 
Serves: 2

2+ tablespoons of cooking oil (I typically use this coconut oil)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced 
2 organic carrots, washed and thinly sliced 
2 organic celery stalks, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup cooked organic brown rice (if not using lentils, increase to 1 cup)
1/2 cup cooked lentils (optional)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger puree (or fresh grated ginger)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
Sea salt, to taste (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Organic, Low-Sodium Soy sauce, to taste
Fish Sauce, to taste (I recommend starting with 1 tsp)
Oyster Sauce, to taste (I recommend starting with 1 tsp)
Toasted sesame oil, for finishing
Sriracha chile sauce (optional)

Recommended Equipment
cast-iron skillet OR cast-iron wok (I had no idea these existed!)

1. Prepare the brown rice and lentils according to their packaged directions, set aside.

2. Prep the onion, carrots, celery then cut each of them into uniform, equal bite-sized shapes. Peel and mince the garlic and if using fresh ginger, grate it. 

3. Place the measuring spoons, spices, ginger, oils, sauces, rice, lentils and shredded pork next to the stove so everything is within arm's reach. 

4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or wok to medium or medium-high, pour in the cooking oil and once that's adequately hot, add the onion. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until the veggies begin to soften a bit. 

5. Pour in the cooked rice and lentils, shredded pork, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, sugar and ginger. Stir everything and cook for a few minutes. If on medium high, reduce to medium or medium-low and add the garlic. (You can keep it at a higher heat if you want, just make sure the garlic doesn't burn). Cook for a minute, then stir in the salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce. After a minute or two, turn off the heat and drizzle with toasted sesame oil and sriracha. 

Notes & Tips
Substitute or add in these other ingredients to diversify the dish:
  • chicken, beef, turkey, shrimp
  • crushed peanuts or cashews
  • peanut, almond or cashew butter
  • bean sprouts, green onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, snow peas, edamame, water chestnuts, bamboo 
  • rice wine vinegar
  • cornstarch
  • noodles
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Question for discussion: What's your favorite sauce to use for stir-fry? Answer in the comments section below.

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About Elaina Newton
Elaina is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. This is perfect! This recipe will help me to cook a delicious yet easy to cook stir fry! I will definitely try this later! Anyway, I know also a site about stir fry recipes, Know Them All Here.