So, I’ve had a package of ground pastured pork in my freezer for a while and I’ve been itching to use it. It’s delicious stuff, from pigs raised by Alan and Nancy Brown at Lewis Waite farm. I could have made burger with it, but I wanted larb. Larb!
What is larb? It’s a Southeast Asian ground meat salad that can be made with pork, beef, chicken and other poultry, or fish. In Laos, it’s made with a bit of ground toasted rice, but the recipe I used didn’t specify that. The version I made was basically meat and some seasonings, served over lettuce with cucumber.
It was delicious, and had that wonderful mix of tangy-salty-fresh-and spicy flavors that I love so much in Southeast Asian food. It was also well-received by our resident picky eater, so I see that as a good sign. It would be an excellent summer dish, perhaps paired with some fresh spring rolls, or perhaps just with a side of papaya salad. Fresh fruit would be perfect for dessert. I expect to make it again.
I adjusted the original recipe to reflect my preference for deeper flavors. I increased the amount of lime juice, mint, and cilantro, as well as the chili sauce. I also found that red leaf lettuce worked just fine, though Boston lettuce would be very nice. I also do not use nonstick pans, so I added a tsp of coconut oil to my cast iron pan, which worked well.
1 pound ground pork
1 tsp coconut oil
4 medium shallots, peeled, sliced in half and then sliced 1/4-inch thick, divided
3 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
2 medium scallions, sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp chili sauce, hot Asian-style (like Sriracha), or to taste
1/3 cup mint leaves, fresh, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, fresh, coarsely chopped
12 leaf Boston or red leaf lettuce
1 kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it melts, add pork, half of the shallots and 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon to break up pork as it cooks, until pork is no longer pink, about 6 to 7 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine remaining shallots, lime juice, scallions, fish sauce, chili sauce, mint and cilantro; add pork mixture and toss well to coat.
To serve, place 2 or 3 lettuce leaves on a plate; divide about 3/4 cup of pork mixture over top and serve with cucumber slices.
This post is participating in Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.