Pumpkin gets Mexican accent in pork dinner

THE MIAMI HERALDNovember 6, 2013 

MCT

  • HELPFUL HINTS

    • Pork tenderloin cut into slices 1 inch thick can be used instead of pork chops.

    • If you have extra squash, freeze it for another meal.

    • Microwaving the squash first makes it easier to cut.

    • If pressed for time, microwave 1/2 cup green beans and serve instead of the squash.

For a new seasonal twist, try Mexican Pumpkin. The unusual flavors of cumin-scented pork and pumpkin make a delicious combination.

We usually think of pumpkins for pies or a sweet vegetable mixed with brown sugar.

In Mexico these squash are used as a savory vegetable. It’s best to cook with a squash such as acorn or butternut variety or one known as sugar pumpkin.

This dish is made in the microwave oven to cut preparation and cooking time. To make prep time easier, look for fresh or frozen acorn or butternut squash already peeled and cubed.

This meal contains 495 calories per serving with 28 percent of calories from fat.

The spicy, savory pork dish would go nicely with an aromatic white viognier wine.

CUMIN PORK

Makes 2 servings.

Olive oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 pound boneless pork loin chops

1/2 cup frozen, diced onion

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a nonstick skillet just large enough to hold the pork in one layer over medium-high heat.

Coat the pork lightly with olive oil. Rub the ground cumin onto both sides of the pork chops and add to the skillet along with the onion. Brown the pork for 2 minutes, turn and brown second side 2 minutes.

Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and continue to saute pork 5 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees. Remove meat from pan and put onto a plate.

Add the vinegar to the pan and reduce the liquid by about half while scraping up the brown bits in the bottom of the skillet. Add the broth and honey and reduce the liquid again by half, stirring to combine the ingredients.

Slice the pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve the sauce and onions on top.

Nutrition per serving: 307 calories (24 percent from fat), 802 g fat (2.1 g saturated, 3.6 g monounsaturated), 120 mg cholesterol, 39.1 g protein, 16.5 g carbohydrates, 0.9 g fiber, 254 mg sodium.

MEXICAN PUMPKIN

Makes 2 servings.

1 acorn or butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (for 2 cups 1/2-inch cubes)

1 cup defrosted corn kernels

1 tablespoon seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper

1 cup tomato cubes

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash squash and poke several holes in the skin. Wrap in a paper towel and microwave on high 5 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Place the squash, cut side down, on a work surface and slice off the skin. Cut the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes.

Place in a microwave-safe bowl and add the corn kernels, jalapeno pepper and tomato cubes. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes.

Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.

Nutrition per serving: 188 calories (29 percent from fat), 6.0 g fat (1.0 g saturated, 3.7 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.7 g protein, 34.6 g carbohydrates, 5.9 g fiber, 21 mg sodium.

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