Larb, one of my very favorite ground meat dishes, and something I cooked early on here on the blog.
When I started eating meat after 13 years of being a vegetarian, I began with fish (ironically, it was raw fish—sushi—that enticed me off the wagon), moved to chicken (skinless, boneless breasts), and about three years into my omnivore status, I decided it was time to try “the hard stuff”—beef and pork. I found early on in that phase that I gravitated toward ground, minced, or shredded meats, something that still appeals to me to this day. Perhaps it was how those muscle cuts were so obviously animal flesh, with all their explicit fat, bones, muscle fibers and tendons, something I was still apprehensive about, and the grinding and shredding of meat helped mask that reality.
It was also easier to eat, not to mention that when I cooked it, ground meat was, and is, usually much more forgiving, especially when it’s loose; it takes a certain set of skills to cook a steak, a leg of lamb, or a pork chop and not have it turn out tough to inedible. That said, nowadays I do feel comfortable roasting whole chickens, cooking strips of bacon, and cooking an entire filet of salmon in parchment. But I still prefer to cook ground meat, even after 17 years of omnivorous living.
During the quiet months of this blog, I tried a number of ground/minced/shredded meat dishes and found some pretty delicious recipes from fellow bloggers and food sites. When I tried them out, I posted pictures of some of the outcomes to my Instagram account, but it’s worth collecting them here in one place. Here are four that I really enjoyed.
Spicy Garlic Pork and Ground Pork via Two Red Bowls
This is the most recent ground meat dish I made and is the one I’m the most excited about. It combines the classic pairing of eggplant and pork, surrounded by a well-balanced mix of savory, spicy, and sweet notes, creating something that is pretty addictive. Ever since I made it my mind keeps wandering back to it. I suspect that its uniquely memorable flavor has to do with the time the pork sat marinating in soy sauce, sesame oil, as well as the high-quality pastured pork I used. It also has what I consider to be a lot of garlic cloves but in the end the garlic was not overpowering and was just right. I also loved the inclusion of ginger. Continue reading…