Peppercorn Pork

There was some pork tenderloin left from the Thai Red Curry Pork and this looked like a fun way to use it up. Good peppercorns will make a big difference. Serves 2-4:

Peppercorn Pork

  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder or tenderloin, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, like Maldon
  • 1/2 cup soft herbs, such as cilantro, mint or basil
  • 1 small Thai red chili (or other hot chili) seeded and finely sliced
  • Lime wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, toss the pork cubes with the fine sea salt. Using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind together the black peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, and the red pepper flakes. If you use a spice grinder, don’t overdo it, you want some texture. Add the spices to the pork, tossing it well. Let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron or stainless steel, not nonstick) over high heat until it is very hot. Add the oil and let it heat until it is shimmering. Add the pork and sprinkle it with the flaky sea salt. Stir-fry until the pork cubes are golden brown all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Do this in a couple batches if needed to be sure not to crowd the meat in the pan. To get a good sear on the meat and avoid sticking, leave it alone in the pan for couple of minutes before stirring.

Transfer the pork to a platter and top it with the herbs and chili. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and lime wedges on the side and enjoy!

My verdict: 

Hot stuff! Super easy to make, but not for the faint of heart. If you don’t have Sichuan peppercorns, you can use more black pepper, but it will have a different kind of heat. You could probably do a mix of different peppercorns, even some pink or green ones if they’re lurking in your kitchen.

I used a Thai red chili sliced for the garnish, but you can leave it out or sub a jalapeno or whatever you like. Weirdly, it’s easier in Nice to find Thai chilis than jalapenos and I haven’t laid eyes on a serrano since leaving the US.

This could also be served in lettuce leaves with cucumbers, but I like the rice for its heat absorbing qualities.



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