October is National Pork Month
October is National Pork Month, or, as we’ve lovingly dubbed it, Porktober.
There is no shortage of reasons to celebrate and eat it up all month long; pork easy to cook, has many healthy options and is full of flavor when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees, followed by a 3-minute rest.
Ready to shake up your list of favorite, go-to pork recipes? Add these to your menu this National Pork Month and be sure to check out more pork recipes on Yummly. And always remember, pork can and should be celebrated year-round.
Pork roast with sweet potatoes, pears and rosemary
For a delicious alternative to the pears, substitute a tart green apple, such as Granny Smith. Instead of rosemary alone, you could combine it with sage and thyme, for a slightly more complex flavor. To balance the naturally sweet flavors in the pork dish, bake a savory casserole of bread dressing with pork sausage, onions and herbs. Green vegetables should be simple and along the lines of sauteed green beans with toasted almonds or steamed and sauteed Brussels sprouts with hazelnuts.
Yields 12 servings
3 1/2 pounds pork loin (center roast, bone-in, excess fat trimmed to thin layer)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped, plus more for serving, or 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary)
2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (6 medium, peeled, and cut lengthwise into sixths)
3 bosc pears (firm-ripe, cut lengthwise into quarters, cored)
12 ounces hard apple cider or substitute 1 cup apple juice and 1/2 cup dry vermouth for the hard cider, or use all apple juice
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Rub pork all over with oil. Mix rosemary, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Rub all over pork.
Place pork, bone side down, in large flameproof roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Roast 15 minutes more. Add sweet potatoes and pears to pan, stir gently to coat with pan juices, and spread as evenly as possible around roast.
Season with salt and pepper.
Roast, occasionally stirring sweet potato mixture, until instant-read food thermometer inserted in center of roast reads 145 degrees and the potatoes and pears are tender, about 1 hour more.
Transfer pork to carving board. Transfer sweet potato mixture to ovenproof bowl, tent with aluminum foil, and keep warm in turned-off oven. (If needed, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees, and continue roasting sweet potato mixture until tender, up to 15 minutes longer.)
Let pork stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat roasting pan over high heat. Add cider, bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits in pan with wooden spoon, and boil until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into sauceboat.
Carve pork. Transfer to serving platter, surround with sweet potato mixture, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of cider sauce, and sprinkle with rosemary. Serve with remaining sauce on the side.
Tip: If you desire to tie the roast, cotton kitchen twine (also called butcher’s twine) is handy to have on hand for a number of chores, especially tying roasts to help them keep their shape during cooking. If you don’t have it, use unwaxed and unflavored dental floss.
Baked Parmesan-crusted pork loin chops
Four simple ingredients make a great weeknight dish. Serve with buttered pasta and green beans.
Yields four servings
4 New York (top loin) pork chops
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
4 teaspoons seasoned bread crumbs (Italian-)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine mayonnaise with cheese in medium bowl. Arrange pork chops on baking sheet. Evenly top each chop with mayonnaise mixture; then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
Ham and egg breakfast burritos
Yields four servings
12 ounces ham (97 percent fat-free, chopped)
1/3 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
1/3 cup green bell pepper (chopped)
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
3 egg whites
2 eggs (whole)
2 tablespoons milk (nonfat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4, eight-inch flour tortillas
1/3 cup salsa
nonstick cooking spray
Cook red and green bell peppers and onion over medium heat in large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray for 3-5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Beat together egg whites, eggs, milk, salt and black pepper in medium bowl until combined.
Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, until egg mixture begins to set on bottom and around edge. Lift and fold the partially cooked egg mixture with spatula so uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking and folding mixture until eggs are cooked through, but still glossy and moist. Fold in ham; continue cooking until heated through, gently folding mixture occasionally.
Remove skillet from heat. To assemble, spoon mixture near the center on each tortilla. Fold bottom up over filling. Fold in side and roll to enclose mixture.
To serve, top with salsa. Garnish with cilantro or chives, if desired.
To warm tortillas, place tortillas on dinner plate, slightly overlapping. Cover with damp paper towel. Microwave on high about 30 seconds or until warm.
Learn to become a label detective. When counting calories and fat, tortillas are not all alike. Be sure to flip the package over and compare the nutrition information from different brands.
Perfect grilled pork loin chops
Yields four servings
4 New York (top loin) pork chops (3/4-inch thick)
vegetable oil (for brushing chops and seasoning the grill)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper on both sides and allow to rest on counter for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat grill and season grill with towel dipped in vegetable oil (use tongs for safety). Just before grilling, squeeze lime juice on both sides of the chops, and then brush with vegetable oil.
Grill the chops on medium-high direct heat until lightly charred on the outside, but juicy and pink on the inside, about 4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degree. Remove chops from grill and let rest a full 5 minutes before serving.
Honey-glazed pork chops
If you think pork chops are delicious, honey-glazed pork chops are a simple, yet decadent, upgrade – and they’re pretty easy to boot.
All you need in good quality pork, ample salt and black pepper, that magically sweet pairing of brown sugar and honey – and a total time of about an hour in the kitchen. Perfect for a weeknight main dish, especially for anyone who likes a little sweet to go with their savory.
Yields four servings
4 porterhouse (bone-in loin) pork chops (3/4 to 1-inch thick)
Salt (to taste)
Black pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (packed)
2 tablespoons honey
Heat oven to 350 degrees degrees. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper.
Coat large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops. Cook until brown, turning once. Remove chops.
Place chops in 9×13-inch baking dish. Combine brown sugar and honey in small bowl. Microwave on high (100 percent) for 20 seconds; stir to combine. Spoon half of the honey mixture over tops of chops, spreading evenly.
Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Turn chops; spoon remaining honey mixture over chops, spreading evenly.
Bake until internal temperature is 160 degrees, 15-20 minutes. To serve, spoon pan drippings over chops.
Slow-cooked spiced-cranberry pork roast
Yields eight servings
4 pounds boneless blade pork roast
14 ounces cranberry sauce (jellied)
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup cranberry juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
Trim fat from pork roast, if necessary. Place roast in 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Use wire whisk to stir together cranberry sauce and sugar in medium bowl.
Stir in juice, mustard, cloves and pepper until well combined. Pour cranberry mixture over roast in slow cooker.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until pork roast is tender. Season roast to taste with salt; serve juices with roast
Pork chop hints
Bone-in pork chops are always going to bring more flavor than boneless pork chops. (Closest to the bone/Sweeter is the meat, goes the Louis Prima song – and it’s true). The bone also offers the home cook a little forgiveness, when it comes to cooking time, and makes it fun for kids and adults alike to pick up the pork with their hands and nibble away at the tastiest bits. Also, thickness matters. Thin chops may cook quickly, but they overcook quickly as well. Chops that are at least 3/4 to 1 thick are ideal – double-thick chops, even better.
More glorious glazes
There is nothing wrong with glazed pork chops made with good old’ salt, black pepper, honey and brown sugar. But if you want to change it up from the sugar glaze, you’re in luck – there’s no shortage of options to create new pork chops recipe at home. Mustard is a must. Balsamic vinegar adds tangy flavor. Orange is a classic pairing. Ginger and Dijon add layers of flavor. Chipotle, garlic powder and cayenne pepper add spice. Fish sauce makes it Southeast Asian. And maple syrup and soy sauce (alone or together) are no-brainers.
Pink is perfection
There’s no need to overcook pork chops. The latest USDA guidelines say to cook pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees to be safe, plus a few minutes to let the meat rest (which you should be doing with all your meats, regardless). That’s 15 degrees less than the bad old days. So watch your cook time and use a meat thermometer if you have one. Whether you grill, or sear then bake, the key is to start high, then finish over medium heat or medium-high heat, to seal in juices but also to make sure the meat reaches the right temp before it dries out and becomes whitish-gray.
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