Pork is a wonderful source of healthy protein with exceptional adaptability to meal combinations as well as flavors. High in protein and rich with many vitamins and minerals, lean pork is always an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Pork contains all nine of the essential amino acids needed for your body's growth and maintenance, it's no wonder that so many families add this delicious, protein-packed meat to dinners weekly and that families all over the country have their variations on traditional pork dishes. We take you on a taste-tour of some of the most popular traditional pork dishes for families across America.
Dijon Crusted Pork Chops
One of America's favorite flavor pairings with pork chops is Dijon mustard. Dijon crusted pork chops are a breaded variety and can be completely open to variation. For those that love spicier, spicy Dijon mustard can be used or a sweeter honey Dijon for a balance of sweet and comforting.
Not only do Dijon crusted pork chops taste fantastic when you enjoy cooking but don't have a lot of time between work or kids, this dish has restaurant appeal without the larger amount of prep or ingredients needed.
What you need to prepare this pork dish:
- 4 pork chops, center-cut bone-in or boneless center-cut.
- Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt.
For the healthiest option, bake the pork chops. Start by turning your oven to 375 degrees.
Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, seasonings, salt and olive oil. Mix well.
Cover a cookie sheet or baking pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup and lightly spray or use oil on the sheet to prevent the chops from sticking. Lay your pork chops on the cookie sheet or pan and lightly drizzle oil on the top. Then take your Dijon mustard, roughly 1-2 tablespoons and spread it along the top of your pork chops. Then, take your breadcrumb mixture made earlier and place some along the top of the chops.
Bake uncovered roughly 20-25 minutes, and voila. Delicious, easy to prepare traditional pork chop dish.
Tip: For the ultimate in juicy, tender pork chops, try a saltwater brine before baking.
Pork Tenderloin Roast
Pork tenderloin roast can be one of the most tender, juicy, savory or sweet centerpieces to a healthy, hearty meal. With a few tips and tricks, you can also avoid accidental overcooking which leads to a dry tenderloin that isn't as kind to the palate as a moist roast.
The benefit of cooking with pork tenderloin is that it is also one of the leanest pork with little fat. However, that lowered fat content means it can be a challenge to keep it from drying out if it is your first time cooking with it.
The best way to cook a tenderloin of pork is in the oven, but first, we recommend searing it on all sides. To sear the pork, pat it dry and rub it with a little oil then season with salt. Toss it in a very hot cast iron or frying pan until all sides are golden brown—adding color and lots of flavors. Remove it as soon as all the sides have turned golden so as not to overcook.
Next, set your oven to a high heat of 425 degrees and roast the pork for only 15-20 minutes and no more. Overcooking is what leads to dry, less delectable tenderloins. A hint of pink with pork is alright and is considered cooked through as long as the thickest part in the middle reaches 150 degrees.
What you'll need:
- 2 pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if you need it.
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 cups quartered and pitted sweet or sour cherries
- 2 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Toss cherries, vinegar, oil and mustard in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and serve as a vinaigrette.
Tip: For an even easier and just as delicious vinaigrette, try our Cherry Balsamic Grilling Sauce for a savory zing to your pork tenderloin.
Like chicken, pork is wonderful meat that can handle both robust and subtle seasonings and textures of any number of dry rubs, marinades, stuffing and more.