This recipe involves a couple steps and takes a couple days, but it doesn’t take up too much time. For two people, you can make it in two batches saving the marinade from the first batch to make the second.
It is so delicious and gorgeous and a great way to celebrate Lemon Grass* and well-grown pork**!
Serve with Scallion Oil on the side or poured over the meat. You can also serve with a fried egg, pickles, or a light semi-bitter salad.
Make this Scallion Oil to go with it – you’ll LOVE it!
1 bundle of scallions – cleaned and sliced or finely chopped
about 2 cups of light olive oil or sesame oil (unroasted)
Combine in a glass jar or pyrex container and keep in fridge – it’s pretty good in a day – but it is amazing on everything in a week!!!
You’ll have extra to add to salads, pour over other meat dishes, and combine into eggs!
Lemon Grass Marinated Pork
You can use bone-in pork chops or ham steaks for this recipe. We use pork from Churutabis Farm in Branchville, NJ – the farm is run by our friend Hannelie with wonderfully-treated pigs and pure, organic methods. The flavor of her pork products is divine!
1-2 Ham Steaks** or 2-4 Pork Chops
About 5 – 10 Lemon Grass* stalks depending on size and freshness of the stalks and your taste.
4 shallots or 1 large onion
1 Ancho pepper
about 1/3 cup fish sauce
about 2 tbsp XO sauce or you can substitute Oyster sauce
1 tbsp chili flakes or 1 small hot chili like a tabasco (or to taste for heat)
4 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp sea salt
Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
Light olive oil or Sesame oil
Start by making the scallion oil or make it a couple days ahead of time.
Then make the marinade – begin with bruising (I place the stalks between two kitchen towels and hit firmly with a heavy sauce pan bottom or a wooden kitchen mallet) lemon grass. Then chop the lemon grass along with the onions and peppers.
Then combine the lemon grass, onion or shallots, ancho, chili pepper, fish sauce, XO sauce, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a food processor. Process until well chopped and smooth, adding oil to keep it moving nicely.
I usually use a baking dish for marinating. I put a big spoonful of the sauce into the dish…
Then I press the meat over it, making sure it has full contact with the marinade.
**If you are using Ham Steaks, which is my favorite way to do this recipe, be sure to cut into the edge of fat around the steaks. See pic. This keeps the steak from curling up as it cooks.
Ham Steaks are a wonderful way to eat and prepare Ham. For two people or a small family, a Ham can be a gigantic amount of meat and can take a long time to prepare. I feel it is beat to save for for big gatherings and holidays. But a Ham Steak is so much more useable. Ham Steaks are basically slices of ham. They have a center bone and sections of meat like a pie. Marinating is a great way to use this cut of pork well. It also is best cooked quickly and hotly. Always remember to cut the fat layer. I use scissors and cut it as I rinse the meat.
Then I scoop more marinade over the meat, fully submerging and coating it.
Marinate at least 8 hours. Overnight or two nights is fine.
You can cook this on a grill, which is a traditional Vietnamese way, but I usually just want to pop them under the broiler. I use a baking rack (Stainless Steel) in a baking sheet. Put a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil in the baking sheet. You will often rip it at some during cooking, but if you don’t rip it, it makes clean-up much easier!
I heat up the broiler on high and raise the oven racks to the highest point closest to the broiler element. Place the meat on the rack, leaving marinade on it.
Pop the meat into the oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes on one side. You want the meat to have its edges dark, crispy brown.
Then take it out and flip onto the other side. You can spoon more marinade over it if you want.
Cook another 5-7 minutes. Watching until edges are nice and dark. There will be some smoke…
Take the meat out and let it rest a minute or two. Then, gently wipe the majority of the marinade off (the lemon grass can be a bit stringy and chewy). Distribute onto plates with other items like a fried egg, scallion oil, greens, pickles…
*Consider growing your own Lemongrass Plants
We always have them for sale at our Plant Sale – both “West Indies” and “East Indies” Styles. They are easy to grow. Plant the young plants in a big pot and keep in a warm and sunny location.
Toward the end of summer, you can freely harvest the stalks from around the outside of the grass-clump. Wear gloves – the blades can be sharp! Simply grasp a stalk around the base and pull out. Rinse and slice and use!
To continue growing Lemongrass through the winter – it will need to be brought into the house as a houseplant or into a greenhouse. It works well as a houseplant – but feel free to give the grassy blades a trim as it can take up a lot of space!
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