It’s been four weeks of pork here in the Vanderbilt household! We have had more fun with this campaign than I ever expected. For four weeks, we’ve cooked a giant meal with two pork entrees and fed our friends.
Last night, our friends L and C offered to have us to their apartment instead so I didn’t have to clean. What a blessing! Especially since I think I made a new record number of dirty dishes preparing the meal.
The beer-braised cutlets won the vote 3 to 1 on which pork was the favorite. I love dill anything – pickles, potato salad, etc – and the dill in this really made it. It isn’t the prettiest dish ever (especially in my old, stained Corningware), but the taste was excellent – especially alongside L’s lovely wilted slaw with celery seed. It all made my German tastebuds very happy.
Mr. V did like the Cranberry-Balsamic Cutlets better, though. They are even less pretty than the beer-braised ones, but very tender and tasty. I could drink balsamic vinegar, so anything with it usually makes me happy.
The theme for this week was Healthy Comfort Foods, and I believe both of these dishes certainly fit that bill. They are hearty and flavorful without being deep-fried or highly caloric.
Pound cutlets between piece of plastic wrap to thin out and tenderize. Season with salt and pepper.
Melt butter and oil together in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, place cutlets in skillet. Cook for three minutes on each side.
Whisk remaining ingredients together (flour through vinegar). After pork is browned, pour mixture into skillet. Cook for another 10 minutes or so, until sauce is thickened.
To make cranberry relish, pulse about 2/3 cup fresh cranberries, the juice and zest of half an orange, and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor or blender. Use 1/2 cup for recipe and any additional relish for garnish. Alternately, use store-bought relish or cranberry sauce.
It’s week 3 of the “Good and Good for You” pork challenge here at Vanderbilt Wife. I have been so thrilled by this challenge: we’ve found some great new recipes, had friends over each Thursday night, and may have established a new weekly tradition!
I all but command you to make one of these fiesty dishes for your honey for Valentine’s on Tuesday night. Neither takes a ton of time, but these two pork dishes are so tasty.
These Indian kebabs I made from PorkBeInspired.com are fragrant and the spice rub is simple to make yet delightfully complex. You blend garlic, salt, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, and water in a food processor (I used a mini chopper) and let the pork cubes marinate in the mixture for a few hours. Then thread the pork, sweet bell peppers, and sweet onions on skewers and grill for a short while. Delicious.
I served the skewers over couscous and with a Pineapple Raita. Raita is a traditional Indian yogurt dipping sauce. Mine is not super-traditional, I imagine, but I went with what I had and it turned out wonderfully. I’ll be sharing that recipe later this week.
The cut of meat that is on sale this week at Publix is bone-in sirloin roast. I have to say that for the skewers, that’s probably not the best choice. Get a boneless roast or a tenderloin; much easier to cut up!
But since I had a roast, and I love pork roast, I felt like I needed to make, well, a ROAST! But of course, I wanted something special. I had seen Honey Parmesan Roast on Pinterest and it looked like it had that “je ne sais quois” factor.
A few of my taste-testers went gaga over the amazing “gravy” that’s on this roast. You might want to just drink it instead of bothering with the meat. And you know what? Go for it.
Our Honey Parmesan Roast was served alongside mashed potatoes and asparagus with bacon and goat cheese. (Thanks, Leslie!)
Thickening the gravy is optional, but you'll probably want the extra sauce to pour on some mashed potatoes or rice.
3-4 lbs. bone-in sirloin pork roast
1/2 c. honey
2/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese (preferably real!)
3 T soy sauce (LaChoy is gluten-free)
2 1/2 tsp. dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T cornstarch
1/4 c. cold water
Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix together honey, cheese, soy sauce, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt. Pour sauce over roast.
Cook on low for 7-9 hours, until the roast is falling off the bone. Use tongs to remove pork to a serving dish.
Carefully pour the sauce into a saucepan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together cold water and cornstarch and pour into sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to gravy consistency. Pour over roast and serve. Serve any extra gravy on the side. (Great over mashed potatoes!)
[GIVEAWAY OVER] So, hey! At the end of this four-week series, I am giving away a great package including coupons for $40 of fresh pork, a meat thermometer, a reusable bag, a pedometer, and a nice reusable water bottle. To enter, comment on any post in the series. You can comment once on each one, and then you’ll have four entries! I will choose a winner after the fourth post goes live around February 17.
I wanted to do dishes I thought would be great substitutes for some of your more traditional, fatty, fried Superbowl foods. From the Pork Be Inspired site, I cooked Pork Chops with Sofrito. Sofrito is a slowly sauteed mix of aromatics; in this case, onions, bell peppers, and garlic. I *just now* realized the called-for “salsa de tomate” is actually tomato sauce, not salsa. I used two small cans of a Mexican “medium” salsa from the Hispanic Foods section and it still turned out well, although I can see where a little more liquid might have been helpful.
Out of the four adults that ate my meal of Pork Chops with Sofrito and Meyer Lemon BBQ Pork Chops, three preferred the Mexican-style chops (although everyone liked both). I went with the BBQ ones – not out of pride, but the sofrito sauce was so spicy I could hardly taste it. I think that’s probably chalked up to my use of medium salsa rather than tomato sauce. But again, everyone else LOVED that heat, so use whichever you choose if you decide to make the recipe. It’s a great substitute for something fattier, like enchiladas or even layered dip. And you can still serve some chips and salsa or guac alongside it for a well-rounded party meal.
Meyer Lemon BBQ Pork Chops
For our other taste-test, I made pork chops baked in a bath of thin barbecue sauce. These would work well in place of hot wings or ribs. The sauce is extremely flavorful and not full of the high-fructose corn syrup you might find in a storebought variety. Yes, there are a lot of ingredients … but stick with me, it all just gets tossed in a blender.
It’s a fresher barbecue sauce that doesn’t taste particularly lemony, but still has a little note of lemon and the lovely scent of thyme. It would also be perfect as a slow cooker meal.
juice and zest of three Meyer lemons (can sub regular lemons)
2 T honey
2 c. water
1 clove garlic
1 T dried minced onion
3/4 c. ketchup
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T paprika
1 T chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 T fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 T fresh basil leaves, chopped, or 2 tsp. dried basil
4 center-cut pork chops
all purpose-flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Add everything but pork chops and flour to a blender and pulse until well-combined. Set aside. (You can make this in advance and refrigerate – or freeze and then defrost – until needed.)
Cover the bottom of a skillet in olive oil and heat to medium. Dredge pork chops in flour mixture and shake off excess, then add to skillet and cook for 2 minutes on each side, to brown. Transfer chops to a deep baking dish that will fit them in a single layer.
Pour sauce over top chops. Yes, they will be swimming in it. That’s OK.
Cover dish with aluminum foil and put on top of a cookie sheet in case of overflow. Bake at 350F for 1 1/2 hours. Chops should be very tender, almost falling apart. If you’d like a slightly thicker sauce, uncover and continue baking at 400F for 10-20 minutes.
At the end of this four-week series, I am giving away a great package including coupons for $40 of fresh pork, a meat thermometer, a reusable bag, a pedometer, and a nice reusable water bottle. To enter, comment on any post in the series. You can comment once on each one, and then you’ll have four entries! I will choose a winner after the fourth post goes live around February 17.
Right now I am participating in the most fun and interesting blog campaign I’ve ever done. The Pork Board and Publix are promoting “the other white meat” as a great way to get lean protein and eat more healthfully this year.
For four weeks, I’ll be sharing recipes for a specific cut of pork. This week, it is pork tenderloin.
We’ve decided to share the pork wealth by inviting some friends over to help us eat the pork each week. I hate having leftovers sitting forever in the fridge, and I love having people over, so it worked out well!
Both platters were beautiful and went over well. Here were the thoughts from my panel of judges (my husband and three other adults):
The texture of the grilled meat was better than the texture of the slow-cooked tenderloin. (I used a grill pan, because I don’t have an outdoor grill.)
The Asian recipe could have used some spice. If I made it again, I would definitely add red pepper flakes to the stir-fry.
No one seemed to worry about the pink pork. The new standard is to cook pork to 145F so it doesn’t get dry. (Thanks to my sponsors for my lovely new digital meat thermometer! I’m so excited to finally have one.)
All in all I was pretty happy with both dishes, although I personally enjoyed the slow-cooker pork more. Here is the recipe … but make sure you read the blurb that comes after it!
So, hey! At the end of this four-week series, I am giving away a great package including coupons for $40 of fresh pork, a meat thermometer, a reusable bag, a pedometer, and a nice reusable water bottle. To enter, comment on any post in the series. You can comment once on each one, and then you’ll have four entries! I will choose a winner after the fourth post goes live around February 17.