Weekly Winner:  An Odd Little Dinner without a Country

So the beginning of the new year always brings with it tons of healthy and light recipes that I am all-too-willing to try.  I am always ready to discover new combinations of flavors, or the new “it” ingredient and find ways of incorporating them into my diet.  This recipe, while definitely healthy and low-calorie, did not introduce anything new to the party.  I’ve had every ingredient listed a hundred times but for some reason, it just sounded intriguing.  I thought it would be a good dish to try out when I was short on time but wanted something light and new.  Which was just where I found myself last night.

As we sat down to eat, I was stumped.  It’s good…very savory and tasty and extremely familiar, but then in other ways it seemed quite unique.  My husband was also confused.  He saw the pork cut up along with the mushrooms and carrots and I think he was expecting either a stir-fry or a stew.  This however was neither.  There was not one single Asian ingredient to bring the dish over to the stir-fry team, and it certainly wasn’t any kind of stew.

So what exactly was this dish?  I have no idea.  The name certainly didn’t give any clues: Pork with Mushrooms and Barley.  It wasn’t Asian, Indian, French, German or Italian.  Perhaps it was a new take on a good-old American dinner. Regardless, it was delicious in a perfectly harmonious, unassuming sort of way.  I’ll be making it again I’m sure.  The recipe comes from Food Network Magazine.

Pork with Mushrooms and Barley

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup quick cooking barley

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp packed light brown sugar

1 large pork tenderloin (about 1-1/4 pounds), trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch chunks

Kosher salt and ground pepper

1 cup chicken broth

2 tsp cornstarch

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

8 ounces cretinism mushrooms, sliced

2 leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped

3 carrots, chopped

Chopped fresh parsley, for topping

Procedure:

  1. Cook the barley as the label directs.  Cover and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce with 2 tsp brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Add the pork, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Whisk the chicken broth, cornstarch and the remaining 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp brown sugar in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat.  Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned, about 4 minutes.  Remove to a plate.
  4. Wipe out skillet and add the remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil.  Add the mushrooms, leeks, carrots, 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes.  Return the pork to the skillet and add the broth mixture.  Cook, stirring, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.  Serve with the barley; top with parsley.
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Weekly Winner: Cozy-ing Up With a Comfy Korma

My apologies for the delay but once again I’ve been traveling.  And as usual, upon my return to reality I feel a bit heavy and, well, stuffed.  Good eating (especially on vacation) is a life-long love of mine but once back home I always decide it is time to lighten up and eat right.

This would be much easier if it actually felt like Spring here in Chicago, but alas, the Polar Vortex still seems to have a firm grip on Chicagoland and the winter-that-just-won’t-quit … well, apparently it just won’t quit!!  Therefore I am torn between my continued craving for comfort food and my new-found yearning for lighter, healthier food.  What is a girl to do??

turkey spinach kormaThis girl turned to one of my new favorites – Spinach Turkey Korma on brown rice.  It is a bowl of food you can really tuck into and it just warms you up and satisfies.  But it’s healthy!!  And light!!  Bonus!

The recipe comes from Food Network Magazine and if you have the slightest inclination to try a healthy Indian bowl of yumminess — try this.  Your soul and your waistline will thank you.

A quick note on the picture and the recipe itself.  My picture just didn’t do the dish justice, so this one is from the magazine’s website.  And anyone who had read more than two of my recipes knows I detest cilantro.  Therefore I replaced cilantro with parsley.  You do what you feel is right.  I won’t judge, but might just wrinkle my nose at you a bit.

Spinach-Turkey Korma

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 2 -inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 10 -ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for topping
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

Instructions:

Puree half of the onion, 2 tablespoons water, the ginger, garlic, curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until almost smooth; set aside. Mix the yogurt with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and tender, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the onion-spice mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until dry, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the spinach and the yogurt mixture. Cook, stirring, until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve over rice with more yogurt and topped with parsley.