I’m a big fan of ground pork braised in sugar, sake and soy sauce—aka sanshoku-bento meat—so I was thinking that that meat, combined with some onions, cabbage and spinach, and you could make a good Japanese-style hot pocket. So, I did that.
They turned out good, but next time I’d cook them on a wire rack with the convection on, or better yet, in an air fryer.
This recipe will make 4 meat pies out of two sheets of puff pastry.
What you’ll need
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 2T soy sauce, plus extra for brushing on the pastry
- 3T mirin
- 2T granulated sugar (superfine is best)
- 2T sake
- 2t neutral oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 oz. cabbage, chopped
- 3 oz. fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- Frozen pastry sheets, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets—17.3 oz.)
- 1 egg, beaten in a small bowl
What to do
Braise the pork: in a cold frypan, add the ground pork, soy sauce, mirin, sugar and sake. Heat to a simmer, mixing the liquids and breaking apart the meat as it cooks. Let it simmer until nearly all the liquid has been absorbed or cooked off. When it’s done, drain off the fat and set aside the meat in a bowl.
Wipe out the frypan used for the meat and add the oil. Over medium heat, sauté the onions and cabbage to cook the liquid out of them. After most of the liquid has cooked off, add the spinach and sauté until it is wilted. When done, turn the sautéed vegetables onto a plate double-lined with paper towels and spread them evenly across the paper towels. Using another paper towel, blot the vegetables to absorb any liquid.
When the veggies have been blotted, add them to the bowl with the meat. Yes, some of them will stick to the paper towels, but you can carefully brush them off into the bowl. Thoroughly combine the meat and vegetables. Now the filling is complete.
Begin heating the oven to 400 degrees F. This recipe will make 4 meat pies out of two sheets of puff pastry. Unfold the pastry sheet, and using a pizza cutter or chef’s knife, quarter the sheet into even squares, about 4.5 inches X 4.5 inches, based on the Pepperidge Farm sheets. Spoon about a quarter of the meat/vegetable filling into the center of a cut piece of pastry sheet, making sure the edges are free of meat or veggies. With a baster, brush the beaten egg along the perimeter of the pastry sheet with the meat on it.
Place a piece of pastry sheet over the meat-sheet and line up the edges. Using fork tines or your fingers, press the pastry sheet together around the perimeter to make a tight seal. Repeat for each meat pie you’re making. Brush soy sauce over the top of each meat pie. Now they’re ready to cook.
When the oven reaches 400 degrees, put the meat pies on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. You can put the meat pies directly on the parchment paper, or—and I haven’t tried this yet—put a wire rack with fairly-closely-spaced wires onto the baking sheet and put the meat pies on top of that. This would theoretically allow heat to get under the meat pie when cooking.
Cook for 15 minutes, until the meat is cooked, and the inside of the meat pie reaches 165 degrees F.