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Simplicity for all recipes

By Staff | Jan 7, 2011

Joyce Hoppes seasons a pork roast in the kitchen at the Iowa Pork Producers Association. In her role as consumer information director, Hoppes educates consumers throughout Iowa about pork and how it is an easy meal to prepare.

DES MOINES – As the consumer information coordinator for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Joyce Hoppes spreads the message of pork’s nutrition and simplicity at forums throughout Iowa, from the Iowa State Fair to large barbecue promotions to conferences with dietitians and educators.

For more than 20 years, Hoppes has been promoting pork and educating consumers on its merits.

From the start, she cooked extensively for her job, traveling throughout the state to meet small groups of people and teach them how to include pork in their meals at home.

“I used to be on the road all the time. My car looked like a kitchen. That was a great way to reach consumers at that time,” Hoppes said. “I think the need (to educate consumers) is still there, but the way we reach consumers has had to change.”

Although she still occasionally cooks when promoting pork recipes on a few radio and TV stations, her job now is to educate the food professionals, like those who prepare meals in hospitals and schools, as well as educators who teach high-school students about nutrition and consumer science.

“We know we can’t be everywhere but we educate the educators,” she said. Hoppes grew up on a diversified farm near Grand River and has two brothers who still farm.

Today, her goal is to direct individual consumers to both the national and Iowa web sites for recipes, where dozens of recipes are available.

Those websites include www.otherwhitemeat.com and iowapork.org.

“The goal of the websites is to get someone to download a recipe; then there’s a good chance they’ll consume pork,” she said.

One of the biggest challenges in promoting pork to today’s busy consumers, Hoppes said, is convincing them that it can fit into their lives.

“They can still come home and prepare a meal within 25 minutes or less,” she said. For several years, recipes have focused on five ingredients or less and 25 minutes or less for preparation.

During the fall months, one may find Hoppes and volunteers from the pork board on patrol during tailgating festivities prior to kickoff of Iowa State and Iowa football games.

The pork patrol gives tailgaters a friendly citation and a bag full of pork goodies and a coupon to buy more pork if they’re caught cooking with pork.

“We try to reach as many tailgaters as possible. Wow, there are some good cooks out there,” she said.

At home, Hoppes said she never gets tired of cooking pork. One of her favorites is a pork loin roast.

“It’s so versatile and so easy to prepare,” she said. She also has many favorites from the pork shoulder, including pulled pork and soups. “It has wonderful flavor,” she said.

Hoppes’ offered to share her favorite recipes.

Italian pork roast

2 pounds boneless pork loin roast.

3 tablespoons Italian seasoning.

4 medium potatoes, cut into wedges.

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing.

Rub Italian seasoning over the surfaces of the roast. Place roast in shallow pan and roast at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Place potato wedges and Italian dressing in plastic bag and toss to evenly coat wedges. Add potato wedges to roast and return to oven for 20 to 35 minutes, or until internal temperature of roast reaches 150 degrees and potatoes are tender.

Remove roast from oven and allow it to rest until temperature reaches 160 degrees, about 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 6

Italian-stuffed pork


2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each.

2 tablespoons butter.

1 8-ounce carton fresh mushrooms, chopped.

1/2 cup green onions, sliced.

1 6-ounce package long grain and wild rice mix, cooked according to package directions and cooled.

1 cup pecans, chopped.

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped.

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning.

1/2 teaspoon salt.

1 10-ounce container Alfredo sauce, refrigerated.

3 tablespoons Chardonnay or other dry white wine.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut a lengthwise slit in each pork tenderloin, cutting to, but not through the other side. Set pork aside.

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and green onions; cook until tender.

Remove from heat. Stir in cooked long grain and wild rice mix, pecans and parsley; but set aside 3/4 cup of the rice mixture.

Spoon remaining rice mixture into 1 1/2-quart casserole; cover and set aside.

Divide 3/4 cup rice mixture between slits in pork tenderloins, spreading evenly in slits. Close slits; secure with toothpicks.

Stir together Italian seasoning and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over top of pork tenderloins. Place pork tenderloins on rack in shallow roasting pan.

Roast tenderloins, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Bake casserole of rice mixture alongside tenderloins.

Meanwhile, for sauce, combine Alfredo sauce and Chardonnay in medium saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until bubbly.

To serve, spoon rice mixture onto serving platter. Remove toothpicks from tenderloins. Cut pork tenderloins into one-inch thick pieces; arrange on rice mixture on platter.

Serve sauce with pork and rice mixture. Serves 6 to 8.

Perfect pulled pork

1 5-pound boneless shoulder.

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika.

2 teaspoons black pepper.

1 teaspoon cayenne.

1 teaspoon dried thyme.

1 teaspoon garlic powder.

1 cup water.

Soft sandwich buns.

Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl and rub evenly over roast. Place meat in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add water.

Cover and cook on low for six to eight hours or on high for four to five hours or until pork is very tender.

Remove pork to a large cutting board or platter and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Pull, slice or chop to serve. Serve on buns with barbecue sauce.

Makes 16 to 20 servings.

Contact Dave DeValois at dwdevalois@yahoo.com.

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