- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Ham, the traditional entree for Easter, looms very large on most Two’s Company tables. But a ham slice, which provides just enough meat to serve two, looks paltry.

Somewhere between the oversized ham and the skimpy ham slice, your supermarket offers the pork selection for an Easter dinner.

Pork tenderloin gets my vote. It weighs between 8 and 12 ounces, providing enough meat for two servings without leftovers. A simple pork tenderloin roast, sliced and arranged on a platter with fresh steamed asparagus, is an appropriate and festive holiday entree.

Unlike ham that’s often slathered with a sugary, highly caloric sauce, pork tenderloin is delicious paired with savory low-calorie flavorings such as herbs, spices and vegetables.

Pork is so succulent and so easy to prepare that the only caveat is to avoid overcooking so you don’t dry out the meat. Although roasting, broiling and even grilling are the preferred cooking methods, I’ve had good success braising pork.

This technique, which calls for browning the meat, then simmering it in a small amount of liquid, develops the flavor of pork.

By coating pork cubes with flour before browning, you reduce the risk of the meat drying out.

Enjoy this recipe for pork and vegetable braise for Easter or whenever you’re looking for a full-flavored dish without the fuss.

Pork and vegetable braise

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

½ pound pork tenderloin cut into 1½-inch chunks

2 tablespoons flour

1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced

1 Hungarian chili, cored, seeded and thinly sliced widthwise

1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1/4 cup red wine

3/4 cup beef broth

1 cup canned, diced and drained tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Noodles (follows)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven. Place pork in a plastic bag. Add flour and shake well to coat.

Add pork to oil in one layer in Dutch oven. Brown on both sides over medium-high heat, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove pork and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon oil to Dutch oven.

Add onion and chili.

Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add paprika and cook for 10 seconds, stirring constantly.

Pour in wine and stir up any browned bits in oven. Add beef broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Return pork to oven and stir to coat with sauce. Reduce heat to low, cover Dutch oven and simmer pork for 1 hour.

Serve pork over noodles or serve noodles on the side. Serve hot.

Makes 2 servings.

NOODLES:

Salt

Water

6 ounces broad egg noodles

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

Add noodles and cook at a boil, stirring during the first minute or two to prevent sticking.

Cook according to package directions until noodles are tender.

Drain and return to pot. Add butter and stir to melt.

Bev Bennett is the author of “30-Minute Meals for Dummies,” John Wiley & Sons).

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