Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pork Extravaganza

I've been pondering on how to make my dinners more exciting for the blog; but then I remembered, that's the whole point. They're family dinners! They're supposed to tasty, nutritious and quick to prepare, not Michelin star worthy. So I thought I'd give an example of dinner in our house for last 3 nights.

This story starts with a lowly 2lb pork loin. I have a bunch of good tenderloin recipes but I didn't have a recipe I loved for pork loin, so I took advice from Martha Stewart, Everyday Food. Pork Loin with Dried Fruit and Chestnut Stuffing.

This one is definitely a keeper. I didn't change it much and its actually dinner party worthy. The pork is stuffed with cooked chestnuts and dried fruit. I used apricots and cherries and it was really delicious. I served it with roasted potatoes and I defrosted a tupperware of sweet and sour red cabbage, that I had made a huge batch of, a while back.

Needless to say there were lots of leftovers, so come night 2 I reached for my usual leftover pork idea; fried rice. Except this time, I used the "Whole Grains for Busy People" book, by Lorna Sass. I can't get enough of this book, at the moment. I've actually borrowed it from our library and renewed it twice; I just can't bear to give it back. Time to fork over some money at Borders I think. Anyway, I was intrigued by her take on fried rice; she doesn't use egg but her sauce looked and indeed turned out to be, totally mouth watering.

Finally, tonight, there was still pork leftover and another starred recipe in Lorna Sass's book got the treatment; tacos. I took a lot of artistic license with her recipe, but was drawn to it by the smoked paprika sour cream. It's supposed to have ground chicken as the meat and cherry tomatoes, however I had leftover pork and cherry tomatoes do not darken the door of our house until they're in season. 

I added black beans, frozen pureed winter squash and changed up the spices a bit but all good. The tacos were wolfed down by my 4 year old and eaten via the "pulling everything apart to check what it is" method, by my 2 year old. My husband and I loved them too.

All in all 3 easy, tasty and yet different meals out of one base ingredient. Part 1 is below, I'll publish part 2 and 3 during the course of this week.

Pork Loin stuffed with Chestnuts and Fruit


1 boneless pork loin (I used a 2 lb one, bigger would work just fine)
approx 1/2 cup cooked chestnuts, chopped
approx 1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice, chopped
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander or 1 tablespoon freshly cracked coriander seeds

Gravy Ingredients

3/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
approx 14fl oz chicken broth (low sodium)
1 tablespoon butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
  2. Place the pork on a chopping board and slice lengthwise, parallel to the work surface. Do not cut right through; you should have one large rectangular piece of pork. 
  3. place 4 or 4 pieces of kitchen string underneath the pork ready to roll and tie it back together after the stuffing is in place.
  4. Mix together the chestnuts and fruit and place them mixture on top of the pork. Push it gently to adhere and make it easier to roll. 
  5. Roll up the pork, overlapping slightly and tie it together.
  6. Rub the pork in oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and coriander
  7. This can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to a day.
  8. Place it in the oven for approx 40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 145°
  9. Cover the meat with foil for 10 minutes while you make the gravy
  10. Place the roasting pan on the stove and add the wine. Stir to get the tasty bits released and reduce the wine a little for 5 minutes.
  11. Add the mustard, broth and reduce for another 5 minutes.
  12. Remove from the heat and add the butter.
  13. Drizzle over the meat

Watch this space for Healthy Fried Rice and Pork Tacos with Pink Sour Cream.

Recipes will be posted this week


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