For a new seasonal twist, try Mexican Pumpkin. Pumpkins, gourds and squash fill the stores. The unusual flavors of cumin-scented pork and pumpkin combine to make an autumn treat.
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. Its 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 easier, look for fresh or frozen acorn or butternut squash already peeled and cubed.
• 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.
• Prepare ingredients.
• Start Mexican Pumpkin.
• Make pork.
• Finish pumpkin.
To buy: 1 bottle ground cumin, 3/4 pound boneless pork loin chops, 1 package frozen, diced onion, 1 bottle honey, 1 small acorn or butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, 1 package frozen corn kernels, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1 tomato or one cup canned, cubed tomato.
Staples: Olive oil spray, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, salt, black peppercorns.
HEAT a nonstick skillet just large enough to hold pork in one layer over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Rub ground cumin onto both sides of pork chops and add to the skillet along with the onion. Brown 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 vinegar to the pan and reduce liquid by about half while scraping up brown bits in the bottom of the skillet. Add broth and honey and reduce 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.Yield: 2 servings 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 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 squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon.
PLACE squash, cut side down, on a work surface and slice off skin. Cut flesh into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and add corn kernels, jalapeno pepper and tomato cubes. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.Yield: 2 servings 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.