By Greta Rose Hanley
Pineapple Kiwi Pork Loins
Pork is one of those versatile meats that you can do just about anything with. As an incorrigible kitchen experimenter, this makes me happy. Sweet and savory both work in beautiful harmony with the full-bodied flavor of pork. While I often serve pork chops or cutlets with a sweet side dish, I generally don’t add fruit directly to the pork recipe, so this dish was a bit of a departure for me.
Not only did I dare to add fruit, I added two types of fruit. Since I was feeling brave, for one of the two, I even chose a super-sweet tropical fruit – pineapple. Now, I’m not a huge pineapple fan. I like it in moderation. It’s definitely better fresh, but I’ve eaten it canned didn’t dislike it. As an ingredient, though, I think it’s scrumptious. There is really nothing like it.
In this dish, I found that combining pineapple with the tartness of kiwifruit and some umami and salty flavors in the soy and Worcestershire sauces proved to delight the palate and really bring out the wonderful flavors of the pork. Final verdict? This was easy to prepare and delicious. I’ll make it again soon!
You will need:
- Six lean pork loins
- One quarter fresh pineapple (or half a can)
- One kiwifruit
- 2 tbsp soy sauce or soy sauce alternative.
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1/4 cup water
Remove pork loins from package and place loins flat in glass or ceramic baking dish. Add soy sauce, distributing evenly. Let rest for 30 minutes, then flip. Refrigerate and marinate for approximately eight hours. Overnight or all-day marinating is recommended for maximum flavour and tenderness. For quicker options, marinate 30 minutes on each side.
After marinating, heat water in skillet over medium heat. When water is warm, place pork loins and marinade in skillet. Cook for four to six minutes on each side, depending on cut thickness. Cooked pork will generally be light tan in color.
Cut fresh pineapple into small cubes. (Canned pineapple in water is a fine substitution.) Add pineapple cubes to skillet, distributing evenly.
Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Reduce heat to medium low.
Thinly slice kiwifruit and add to skillet. Gently distribute evenly with spatula. Continue to cook on medium low for one to two minutes.
Let rest for five minutes. Serve and enjoy! I served this over pan-seared (rainbow) Swiss chard and paired with couscous and grilled asparagus.
Salsa Verde Pork Tacos
I love tacos. In fact, just about everyone I know likes tacos in one form or another. When I have gatherings, taco-themed nights are always a big hit, so much so that I will find almost any excuse to whip up a taco bar in my house. Hosting a scary movie viewing with friends? Terrifying Taco Night!
Dining both in and out, I’ve enjoyed taco variations ranging from vegan to fish tacos and just about everything in between. While in recent years, the street taco is a much-lauded trend (and deservedly so), it seems the hard shell taco is increasingly pushed to the side, ignored, and, dare I say…abandoned?
Not in this house, it isn’t. I have great love for the hard shell taco in all its crispy, textured, complex glory. Taco nights here may include soft shells, both flour and corn, and street taco ingredients, but not in lieu of my beloved crunchy shells.
One of my all-time favorite taco meats is ground pork. Pork has an rich, succulent flavor that provides the perfect base for other tangy, spicy, flavorful filling. The recipe below is a version of ground pork tacos that has been a taco night staple of mine for over a decade. I’m telling you, it holds up.
You will need:
- One pound lean ground pork
- Shredded Colby Jack cheese
- Taco seasoning packet (I make my own using this recipe: https://www.budgetbytes.com/taco-seasoning/)
- One ripe avocado
- Two small vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1/4 cup diced onions
- One bunch of cilantro (or your favorite leafy greens)
- 8-16 ounce bottle of Salsa Verde (I use Herdez: https://www.herdeztraditions.com/products/traditional-salsa/herdez-salsa-verde/)
- Hard taco shells (I use La Tiara White Corn Shells)
- 4 – 6 diced jalapeno slices
- One small lime
Preheat oven to 175°F (approximately 80°C).
Brown pork over medium heat. When fully cooked, ground pork has a much lighter brown or grey color than ground beef; avoid overcooking.
While pork is browning, sautédiced onions over medium-low heat; do not caramelize. Dice jalapenos.
Add Salsa Verde to browned pork and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add sautéed onions and diced jalapenos to mix, reduce heat to low.
Arrange taco shells on baking sheet. Place in oven for 6-8 minutes if shells are thin*, 10-12 minutes if shells are thicker. Allow to warm but do not brown shells; the warming simply releases the oils and brings out the best flavor and texture of the shells.
La Tiara brand taco shells are rather delicate, which is what I like about them. The shells don’t overwhelm the ingredients. They are small, however, and may require a lighter load of filling. If you like a larger, thicker shell or are using blue or yellow corn shells, they will require longer warming time.
Cut one tomato in half, dice one half, and mix into ground pork. This adds some extra complexity to the flavors.
Dice remaining tomatoes and avocado and place in separate bowls.
Coarsely chop cilantro and place in bowl. If you or your guests have the cilantro-hating gene, chopped spinach works well (or use shredded Iceberg lettuce, if you must).
Add taco seasoning to shredded cheese and place in bowl.
Efficiency tip: If you buy the bagged variety of shredded cheese, a quick way to mix the seasoning in is to add it directly into the cheese bag, reseal it, then shake gently until well distributed. Even if you don’t use all of the cheese, the seasoned shreds are a fantastic addition to many other dishes.
Remove browned pork mix from heat.
Remove taco shells from oven.
Let rest for five minutes.
Assemble your tacos and devour!
Makes 10-15 tacos, depending on shell size.
Parting thoughts: If you have a house rabbit, be sure to share any extra cilantro!
Greta Rose Hanley is a professional writer and small business owner. Growing up in rural farmland in the magical 1970s, she learned to appreciate access to fresh produce, dairy, and meats. Through her mother, Greta also developed a love for cooking and gardening. She is now an enthusiastic culinary and horticulture hobbyist and enjoys experimenting with both. She likes to subject her friends to recipe-testing and please her house rabbits with garden goodies.