One-Pot Wonders

String Beans and Ground Pork

November 18, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Brian Coppola
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes


This is one of my favorite dishes when I am eating in China, or I find an authentic Chinese restaurant in the US.

Just a kind warning that I like my food 4-pepper spicy, so keep the amounts of the hot stuff in mind if you try this.

My version is really about as good or better than most I have had. I am a little heavier on the pork, and I include onions and SiChuan pepper. Knock yourself out, though, and adapt at will. I use a large surface pan and not a wok, and I keep the green beans just about full size. The true secret is that the beans are charred, which gives them a great texture and super flavor. The combination with the spicy and crispy pork is simply excellent.

Reheat in a hot oiled wok.

If you do not use bacon (or even if you do!), you can get an added flavor treat on the reheat by chopping some spicy Calabrese into the oil first, for just a few seconds, and then add in the bean dish to reheat it.

I have doubled this with no trouble at all.
Brian Coppola

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound ground pork or ground Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound thick slice bacon from the meat counter
  • 1 pound string beans (ends cut off)
  • 1 sweet onion, fine chop
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Chili Sauce (store-bought)
  • 20-23 dried red peppers, tops cut off
  • 2 tablespoons sweetener (Swerve or real sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking Sherry (or Chinese white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 3-5 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 10-15 thin slices Mastro Calabrese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sichuan ground pepper (optional)
  1. Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-1/2 inch strips. Use the largest surface area pan you have because you need to do the onions and spread the beans out a bit later, so why mess up two pans? Cook the bacon to crispy and remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Reserve the bacon.
  2. Caramelize the onions in the bacon over medium heat and reserve. Go slowly until the onions are pasty. Too high too fast and they will burn. Reserve the onions.
  3. In the meanwhile, make the sauce (garlic chili sauce, sweetener, cooking wine, soy sauce, sichaun pepper) in a small container (I just use a small measuring cup).
  4. On high heat, add a few generous tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the beans (if you double the size, use two batches; keep the beans to a single layer) . You are going to sear them until they are darkening up. The smaller ones will darken completely, others will be toasty, other will be uneven. When I use the whole bean (with only the ends cut off), it takes minutes to get to that point. Once they start to darken, toss them every 30 seconds or so. It is a judgment call on how long to go. Reserve the beans.
  5. On medium heat, re-oil the pan and add the garlic, ginger, and red chilis, just for a minute or so until the edges of the spices are taking just a bit of color. Turn up the heat to high and add the pork. Break apart and mix well with the aromatics. Continue to cook at high until the meat is well browned.
  6. When the meat is done, add the onions back in. Mix and heat thoroughly. Once it dries back out a bit, add 2-3 T of the cooking wine and let the alcohol boil off. Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the bacon and mix well. Then add the sauce and mix well, heating for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the beans and mix well, also for about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve as is or over rice. I use the Banza chickpea rice cooked in Chicken Broth (see general note about using Calabrese)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Brian Coppola
    Brian Coppola
  • Lgraaf

2 Reviews

Lgraaf March 23, 2023
This compared to non-Americanized Chinese food from our favorite place. It’s going into our regular rotation. DELICIOUS! Since we always have it here, swapped in ginger-garlic paste and minced ginger for the fresh, added while browning the ground pork.
Brian C. March 23, 2023
Thanks so much for the comment! As of this writing (03/2023), I have not been back to China in over 3 years, and there are so few great authentic restaurants in the US that I finally just started to make stuff that I missed having - and perhaps with my own little twists of what I would like (such as upping the amount of pork and adding bacon - haha). Cheers.