Entrees with Fruit: Pork or Lamb

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There are, of course, certain associations of fruit with meat; pork with apple or duck with orange, for example. We have got into the habit of thinking of a nutritious meal as comprising meat and two vegetables. Fruit is often more nutritious than many vegetables and the contrasting sweet and savory flavors can bring a new zest to your cooking. With this is mind I am going to explore a few unusual combinations that will delight your family as well as being very healthful.

Pears are very high in carbohydrates, a good thing as carbohydrates contain only half the calories of fat; one reason why pears are often included in diets. Pears have a high potassium content, 30% more than apples, which is good for the heart, muscle contraction and the nervous system. In addition pears contain iron and other minerals, proteins and a good dose of Vitamins E and C. How to best introduce them to your menu? Well, one of my favorites is pork chops with sautéed pears.

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Coat pork chops in a flour, paprika, salt and pepper mix (for 4 chops I use 4 tbsp flour, 1 tsp of paprika and ½ tsp each of salt and pepper) then cook them, with olive oil, in a heavy skillet for 5 minutes, this should brown them. Add 1 ½ cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir in any brown residue from the chops. Simmer for 45 minutes. About 5 minutes before the chops are done add a tbsp of finely chopped fresh sage.

Slice three pears, trim off the top and bottom then just dissect them into 12 segments. They should not be peeled; pear skin is an excellent source of fiber! Heat the skillet with 1 ½ to 2 tbsp of butter and put in the pear segments when the butter melts. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt. If you wish you can add 3 tbsp of pear brandy to really enhance the flavor, the alcohol content will be burnt off. Cook on a high heat for 4 minutes (the segments should be browned). Serve with the pork chops and what a tasty nutritious meal you will have.

As an Englishman, now long time resident of America in beautiful Vermont, it often surprises me that so little lamb is eaten. Many people say it is too ‘greasy’ for their palate but here again a judicious choice of ingredients can transform a boring, bland meal into an enjoyable experience. Oranges make an excellent counterpoint to lamb with their rather tart sweetness. Oranges, of course, are an excellent source of Vitamin C as well as fiber. They all contain a good portion of thiamine, potassium and folate. Again, being very low in fat, cholesterol and sodium they make a very good balance for lamb.

For the neophyte cook I would again recommend chops. Put 6 lamb chops in a pan and broil them for 10 minutes about 4 inches below the heat, this saves charring them. While they are cooking open a can of pear halves and drain 1/3 of a cup of syrup into a pot, add 1/3 cup of orange marmalade and ¼ teaspoon or so of ground ginger. Heat and stir until the marmalade melts. Remove pan from the oven (keep the heat on) and baste the chops with the syrup, having turned the chops. Place the pear slices and the segments of two large peeled oranges around the chops. Pop the pan back in the oven and cook until done. You can use the rest of the syrup to baste while they are cooking and serve with a little parsley and rice.

Hopefully the ideas above will get you into using fruit more often, there are many other recipes available and, of course, you can always vary them them to suit your tastes. You will be doing your taste-buds and your body a big favor!

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