Tasty and versatile, pork can be featured in a number of hearty meals that can satisfy your kids' appetites. Pork is often tricky to cook; it tends to dry out and become tough. For delicious and tender pork, follow preparation directions carefully. To prevent foodborne illness, the USDA recommends that all pork be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roast pork is the ideal comfort food, especially when served with mashed potatoes and gravy. How you roast your pork will depend on the type of cut. Fattier, tougher cuts, such as pork sirloin or pork shoulder, contain the most flavor but require slow cooking at low temperatures -- preferably in a small amount of liquid. Leaner cuts, such as pork loin, should be dry roasted at a higher temperature. To add flavor to your roast, make a spice rub using a paste made from salt, pepper, ranch seasoning mix, flour and oil. Coat the whole roast with the paste and sear it on all sides in a pan with hot oil before roasting.
Pork chops are a classic family favorite. Like roast pork, the cooking method you use for your pork chops will depend on the cut. Quickly grill, broil or pan-fry leaner, thinner cuts to preserve their moisture and give them a better flavor. Breading and pan-frying works best for the thinnest pork chop cuts, as the breading seals in their juices. Thicker, tougher, fattier chops do best with braising, or slow-cooking in liquid. Sear thicker chops in a pan of hot oil and finish cooking them on low heat in the oven. Serve pork chops with homemade French fries, mashed or oven-roasted potatoes, or roasted vegetables.
When cooked properly, pork stew can be every bit as tender and delicious as beef stew. Cook pork stew on the stove, although the oven offers the steady lower temperatures that work best for pork. Sear the stew meat on the stove in hot oil. For added flavor, remove the meat once it's seared, saute onions, garlic and herbs in the brown bits left behind, then add the meat back in. Add in seasonings and beef stock or water, and simmer the stew at a low temperature until it can be pulled apart with a fork. Add vegetables into the stew -- sweet potatoes, butternut squash and potatoes are good choices -- to make a one-pot meal, or serve it with a side of rice or mashed potatoes. Bring some greens to the table in the form of a spinach salad with creamy dressing.
Stir-fried pork is a quick and easy meal that offers a number of healthful possibilities. Saute thin chucks of pork with your favorite quick-cooking vegetables, such as summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, cabbage, onions, mushrooms or bell peppers. Before adding broccoli or green beans to your stir-fry, boil them in salted water for about one minute, then chill them in an ice bath and dry them in a towel. When the pork and vegetables are almost finished cooking, add in seasonings, such as chopped garlic, soy sauce and ginger. Stir in sweet and sour sauce, sweet Asian chili sauce or Hoisin sauce, and top the dish with green onions, peanuts, sesame seeds or fried noodles.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images