Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Other White Meat

This may well be the least appetizing picture I've ever posted. Apologies ... I was starved when I took it and in no mood to mess around with the styling. Having just completed a streak of somewhat accidental vegetarianism, I was in the mood for something heartier last night. Generally speaking, I'd say I'm a "flexitarian" - meaning I will actively choose to go meatless several meals a week. I've never been a huge meat-eater, so its not much of a stretch, but four days of veg only meals left me feeling quite carnivorous indeed.

That being said, I knew I wanted use the meat as an accent rather than the focus of the meal. Pork fajitas seemed like the perfect option. The meat I used was uber lean and I loaded them up with a rainbow of brightly colored peppers - including some from bro's wonder garden. They hit the spot!

I've adapted this recipe from "The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook" - and its not so much the recipe that I've changed, but the technique. The original calls for one to season the pork, cook it, then slice into thin strips. This just seemed rather silly to me, so I decided to slice the pork first, marinate it, then cook it. I like my version better and I think it saves time. Of course I added a few extras to the recipe as well. Having recently gotten my hands on the elusive Mexican oregano, I seized the opportunity to put it to good use here. The husband and I happily devoured our fajitas and I think you'll like them too!

Quick and Tasty Pork Fajitas:

  • 1 large lime
  • 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. of chili powder
  • 2 large, boneless, center-cut pork loin chops
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 large yellow or orange pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 small green pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of non-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. jarred salsa (any brand will do)
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
  • some whole wheat or whole grain tortillas
Cut the lime in half and juice one half of it into a medium sized mixing bowl. To the lime juice, add 1 tbsp. of olive oil, the garlic and the chili powder. Whisk well to combine and reserve.

Remove any visible fat from the edges of the pork chops and slice the meat into thin strips - about 1/2 will do. No need to be precise. Add the pork to the lime and chili powder mixture and toss to coat. Cover and let it marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Add the peppers and the onion and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to brown - approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Add the oregano, a dash of salt and pepper and deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Add a tbsp. of salsa and the juice of 1/2 lime, stir well to combine, then remove the pan from the heat and transfer the peppers to large bowl or dish. Cover with foil and reserve.

Return the same skillet to the stove and to it add the marinated pork strips. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently until all of the pork is cooked throughout. Return the reserved peppers to the skillet and stir to blend, adding in some additional chicken broth if necessary. Add the chopped cilantro, reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes so the flavors will combine.

Spoon the pork and pepper mixture into the tortillas and top with any and all of the following garnishes:

  • Salsa
  • your chosen brand of hot sauce
  • non-fat sour cream, or non-fat Greek yogurt
  • some chunky avocado salsa*
* Combine the flesh of two ripe, peeled avocados, the juice of 1/2 a lime, some salt and pepper and a few tbsps. of jarred salsa in a bowl. Mash together with a fork until desired consitancy is achieved. Use as a topping for the fajitas or as a dip with chips and veggies.

I'm a big fan of the Ezekial brand "Sprouted Grain Tortillas," so that's what I use, and I do opt for the non-fat Greek yogurt as a garnish in place of the sour cream. The taste is virtually the same and you can't beat the protein power. The avocado salsa is especially nice ... and frankly that's the husband's recipe. He's famous for it!

As written, this recipe will serve 3 or 4 very happy people, depends on your appetite, but it can be doubled or even tripled easily. I hope you'll try it!

So, where to fall on the carnivore/flexitarian/vegetarian spectrum? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!


Michele said...

Proud carnivore here...just can't help myself. :-)

Deb said...

I'm a flexi but husband is more of a carnivore but I am the cook so we do eat some vegetarian type meals. If I disguise them as pasta he is perfectly happy to eat veg. One of my favorites is to saute onions and garlic in olive oil, ass some garbanzo beans for protein and some frozen flat Italian green beans (which I have trouble finding here) and pour over whole wheat pasta. Add some parmesan cheese and enjoy! I exercise portion control and he eats all he wants.


The Diva on a Diet said...

I know Michele, much as I love my veggies, I don't think I could pull the trigger and go all the way. I like chicken too much! LOL

Deb - Ugh, isn't that just the way with men and portion control. Sigh. That pasta does sound yummy though. I'll give it a try, thanks!

By the way ... I'm concerned about your Rays. Is your husband besides himself? :(

Deb said...

We are very anxious and concerned about the outcome of tonight's game. John is pacing and recording - he can't bear to watch them live so he DVRs and then watches the highlights, backs up for the good stuff. I'm still hopeful since the 5th game got called for weather - they are still in it but no one should have to play baseball in snow caps and mittens!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Oh Deb, I'm extending my sympathies to you and John. If there's any good news - its that the team is young and will no doubt contend next year too. I'm sorry. :(