This braised pork with caramelized onions and lychee sandwich happened after a thief broke into our house.
I had half of a pork loin and the plan was to slice around it to come up with a half-inch thick rectangle. I was going to spread a fruit-and-herb mixture on the meat, roll it up then bake it. Like the rolled pork loin stuffed with garlic, onion, basil and tomatoes, and the one with with bacon, basil and rosemary.
I had been thawing the meat, still wrapped in cling film, on the kitchen island for hours when Speedy saw the meat on the floor with one end gnawed off. There’s a stray cat in the neighborhood that had been stealing our cats’ food and, sometimes, he boldly enters our house to steal OUR food. Although the cling film was still intact except for one end of the loin, for safety reasons, I had to cut off and discard half of the pork loin together with the end that had been gnawed by the blasted cat. What was left was too small for me to execute my original plan so the rolled pork loin became braised pork slices that went between split pan de sal.
And my braised pork with caramelized onions and lychee sandwich was born. Thank goodness for a can of lychees sitting on the shelf of one of the kitchen cabinets. What could have been a boring sandwich turned out to be unexpectedly delectable and delicious. Seriously, with the variety of sandwiches we’ve been making at home lately, I’ve stopped thinking of sandwiches as meals for the kitchen dummy. With some imagination and creativity, and by ditching the old idea that a sandwich is nothing but mayo and cold meat between bread slices, sandwiches can be really fantastic.
- 400 grams pork loin - cut into half-inch slices (depending on the diameter of your pork, you should have 4 to 6 slices)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 can of lychees
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- salt - to taste
- 3 bird’s eye chilies - halved
- 2 large white onions - sliced into thin rings
- juice of half a lemon
- bread - any kind
- Drain the lychees and chop coarsely. Reserve the syrup.
- Heat a frying pan. Melt 2 tbsps. of butter, swirling the pan so that the butter coats the entire bottom.
- Add the pork slices in one layer. Cook over high heat to brown and sear, flipping them after about two minutes to brown and sear the other side too.
- Add the chilies to the pork. Pour in half of the lychee syrup and the Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt.
- Cook the pork over medium heat, uncovered, until the meat is done (but not dry and rubbery) and the sauce has reduced and thickened considerably.
- While the pork slices cook, prepare the caramelized onions and lychees.
- Take another pan and melt the remaining 2 tbsps. of butter in it. Add the onion rings and chopped lychees. Cook gently over medium heat until the onion rings are soft.
- When the pork slices are done, lift them out of the pan and transfer to a plate.
- Add the onion-lychee mixture to whatever sauce is left in the pan in which the pork slices were cooked. Add the lemon juice. Continue cooking the onions and lychees until the mixture is almost dry.
- Assemble your sandwiches.
- If using buns, split them in half.
- Lay a slice of braised pork on a slice (or bottom half) of bread. Top with your favorite salsa (this is optional but guacamole tasted good with the pork). Spoon a generous heap of the caramelized onions and lychees on top of the salsa (or on top of the pork if you want to skip the salsa). Cover with another bread slice (or the top half of the bun) and enjoy.
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