This delicious Leek Greens and Salty Pork Belly Stir-Fry recipe makes good use of the often-discarded top of the leek stalk.
Don't discard those carrot tops, broccoli stalks, potato peels and pea pods. The secret that creative restaurant chefs and thrifty great-grandmothers share is that these, and other common kitchen scraps, are both edible and wonderfully flavorful. In Root to Stalk Cooking (Ten Speed Press, 2013), Tara Duggan provides inspiration, tips and techniques to transform trimmings into delicious meals. The following Leek Greens and Salty Pork Belly Stir-Fry recipe is from chapter 2, “Bulbs & Stems.”
You can purchase this book in the Mother Earth Living store: Root to Stalk Cooking.
At Eric’s, a Chinese restaurant near my home, owner Tony Sung makes a version of a Taiwanese stir-fry with cured pork belly and the dark green ends of leeks, a substitute for a particular kind of baby garlic shoots that are difficult to find here. It’s a brilliant way to use a part of the leeks that usually gets thrown away. If you’re not used to stir-frying with lots of whole chiles, start with five or ten, and turn on a fan because the fumes can make you cough. Serve with medium-grain rice.
Note: Chinese dried chiles, or Hunan chiles, are sold at Asian markets as is air-dried, salt-cured pork belly, such as Shin Tong Yan brand. If you can’t find it, you can use pancetta instead, for a hybrid approach. (American-style salt pork is too salty.) At the deli counter, ask for pancetta sliced at least 1/4 inch thick, then cut into 1-inch strips.
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife
• 10 to 15 Chinese dried red chiles (see Note)
• 8 ounces air-dried, salt-cured pork belly or pancetta, thinly sliced into bite-size pieces (see Note)
• Dark green parts from 2 large leeks, washed and cut diagonally 1⁄2 inch thick
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Place a wok or large frying pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and chiles and stir-fry until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pork belly and stir-fry until the fat is translucent, about 3 minutes.
2. Tilt the wok to pour off all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the leeks and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the sugar and stir-fry for 1 minute more. Stir in the soy sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4.
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Reprinted with permission from Root-to-Stalk Cooking: The Art of Using the Whole Vegetable by Tara Duggan, copyright 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Buy this book from our store: Root to Stalk Cooking.