Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Greek Christmas: Lemon Pork

I know, I know, I haven't made a post in the past couple of weeks as I promised I would do.  Our computer died.  The computer was down and out for a week.  But I have a couple of new holiday dishes for all you readers, so I will post them both this weekend.

The first of the meals that I made was Greek inspired: I made lemon pork.  Pork is a major staple on the Greek dinner table from December 6 through January 17.  Lemon pork is packed with flavor!  To compliment this dish, I also made roasted acorn squash and sweet potatoes with a lemon and maple syrup glaze.  I used pomegranate seeds to garnish my plate.  Pomegranates are a symbol of Christmas in Greece.  Pomegranates symbolize marriage, fertility, life, and hope.  I also made some candied walnuts to go on top of the squash, but they were so delicious, that I ate them all before I took a picture.  Oops.

Ingredients for Lemon Pork:

  • 1 1/2 cubed pork
  • 1 teaspoon jarred garlic
  • 1/2 large sweet onion 
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 

Steps for Lemon Pork:

The night before (doing this the morning of will turn out fine as well) put the pork into a bowl that has a lid.

Juice the lemons and add that to the bowl, along with the lemon zest, sea salt, rosemary, thyme, oil and pepper.

Cut the onion into large sections, separate the pieces, and put that into the bowl.

Mix to evenly coat all of the pork and onions.

That's all the hard work that this meal requires.

The next steps are easy, easy, easy!

Over medium heat, add your pork to a large skillet.

Cook until onions are tender, and pork is cooked through.

The lemon juice will cook down and create a delicious glaze on the pork and onions.

Ingredients for the Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 acorn squash (I used a smallish one, maybe 1 1/2 lbs.)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup light amber pure maple syrup
  • pomegranate seeds for garnish (and tangy yumminess)

Steps for the Roasted Squash and Sweet Potatoes

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the ends off of the acorn squash.

Cut the skin off of the outside of the squash.

A trick to aid in cutting the squash: place in the microwave for about a minute.  Let it cool for a minute then cut.  Heating it up a little bit will make the cutting much easier.

Scoop out the seeds.

 Slice the squash.

Peel and cut the sweet potato.

In a small bowl mix together the juice from the half lemon and the maple syrup.

In a glass baking dish, mix the squash and the sweet potatoes.

Pour the lemon/maple syrup mixture over the top, and mix to coat evenly.

Make sure that the squash and sweet potatoes are spread our in an even layer in the baking dish.

 Bake for 1 hour, mixing occasionally.

Top with pomegranate seeds and candied walnuts (if you are able to keep them around long enough.)

Ingredients for Candied Walnuts:

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/4 cup light amber pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Steps for Candied Walnuts:

Place the walnut pieces in a resealable container.

Pour the maple syrup over the walnut pieces.

Shake the container (making sure the lid is securely on) to evenly coat the pieces.

Over low heat, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet.

When the butter has melted, add the coated walnuts.

Constantly move the walnuts around the pan.

After about 15 minutes (less if you notice the syrup beginning to burn) pour the walnuts into a bowl, and allow to cool.

Use them to top your squash and sweet potatoes, or eat them as is.

A delicious meal that didn't take forever to prepare!  This meal was really enjoyed by all, and I will for sure be making this one again.

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