Sometimes I may have a hundred recipes bookmarked in a cookbook, but when I finally cook from it, none of the bookmarked recipes are what I finally make. Though this recipe for Soba Noodles with Pork and Scallions was bookmarked in America's Test Kitchens The Best 30 Minute Recipes cookbook, it wasn't high on my list. What was high on my list was trying to use the many ingredients in my pantry that seem to have disappeared from my cooking radar*. I went looking for recipes in my cookbooks that used soba noodles and this is the recipe that showed up in my Eat Your Books library.
I know that Americas Test Kitchen is all about following directions and ingredients exactly. They spend lots of time and energy figuring out what makes a recipe good. That being said, I didn't quite follow what was written but the dish was still good. Had a really good flavor. I'm sure this dish would taste excellent if you followed the Americas Test Kitchen's instructions to a tee. But it was pretty damn good the way I made it. Took me more than 30 minutes from start to finish, but then that's not unusual for me.
SOBA NOODLES WITH PORK AND SCALLIONS
(The Best 30-Minute Recipe)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into thin strips
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 cups bean sprouts, well rinsed
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
8 ounces soba noodles (see note)
4 scallions, sliced thin
MAKING THE MINUTES COUNT:
Prep the mushrooms before cooking the pork. then prep the remaining ingredients while the mushrooms brown.
1. BOIL WATER FOR NOODLES:
Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add pork, spread into single layer, and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir pork and continue to cook until most, but not all, of pink color has disappeared and pork is lightly browned around edges, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer pork to clean bowl, cover, and set aside.
3. STIR-FRY MUSHROOMS: Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 4 minutes.
4. COMBINE PORK, MUSHROOMS, AND SAUCE: Stir garlic and ginger into mushrooms and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in bean sprouts, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and pork with any accumulated juices. Cook until pork is just heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
5. BOIL AND DRAIN NOODLES: Add soba and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain soba and return soba to pot.
6. TOSS NOODLES WITH PORK, MUSHROOMS, AND SAUCE: Stir pork-mushroom mixture and scallions into noodles. Add reserved cooking water as necessary to moisten, and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
NOTE FROM COOKBOOK:...avoid the darker colored sobas made from 100 percent buckwheat, as they take twice the amount of time to cook as the lighter colored soba, which are made with part buckwheat and park regular wheat.
NOTE: My soba noodle package was a bit over 9 ounces...but I was trying to use up stuff in my pantry and not have a small portion of something left over, so I threw in the entire amount. Was it too much noodle? Yeah, but I don't necessarily consider that a bad thing.
NOTE: Probably didn't add as much garlic as required but added a bit more ginger (since that used up the nub of ginger that I had).
NOTE: Used Brown mushrooms (baby portabelas) and there wasn't 10 oz, but again I used what I had.
NOTE: Next time I'd cut the pork into smaller pieces.
*I used soba noodles from The Pantry Project. They were number 72 on the list of the numbers that Greg picked. Yes, I am still going through my pantry...things keep seeming to multiply because the dang pantry always seems overstuffed!