More than one way to carve a pumpkin

FAST & FRESH

October 19, 1994|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Special to The Sun

With its compatibility with apples, which are so abundant and inexpensive during this season, pork is a perfect choice for an entree in fall. This hasty stew combines cubes of pork with vegetables and apple slices in a blanket of sauce slightly sweetened with rich apple butter.

For a holiday presentation, serve in a hollowed and cleaned out pumpkin. Although preparing the pumpkin may take a few extra minutes, it is well worth it for a casual fall party. No need to bake the pumpkin, just line the inside with heavy foil. If you want to place the pumpkin in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes to warm, it can help keep the stew hot.

Buying lean pre-cut pork cubes will save a lot of preparation time. Make sure the frozen stew vegetables are thawed. You can simply leave them in the refrigerator the night before. If the package contains rather large potato pieces, as mine did, cut them into one-inch chunks. They will cook faster and more evenly.

Sweet potato drop biscuits are the perfect accompaniment and take little time or effort. By simply combining mashed canned sweet potatoes and Bisquick you have a rich, velvety biscuit in about 12 minutes. You can throw the biscuits together and bake them while the stew simmers.

Finish your fall repast with brownies (if made at home, try a low-fat version) a la mode. For added fun, try orange sherbet instead of ice cream to mimic the colors of Halloween.

Items you should have as staples are: canola oil, salt and pepper, apples, flour, chicken broth, apple butter, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ground ginger, Bisquick, cinnamon, brown sugar, skim or low-fat milk.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

1 1/4 pounds lean pork cubes

1 20-ounce bag frozen stew vegetables

1 16-ounce can sweet potatoes

brownies

orange sherbet (or ice cream of choice)

Pork Apple Stew in a Pumpkin

Serves 4

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 1/4 pound pork cubes (1 inch), trimmed of all fat

salt and pepper to taste

1 20-ounce bag frozen stew vegetables

2 medium Golden Delicious apples, cut in 1/2 -inch slices (no need to peel)

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup apple butter

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

In a large nonstick Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the pork and sear to brown for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vegetables and the apples and saute 4 more minutes. Sprinkle the flour over this mixture while stirring to incorporate. Lower heat to medium and very gradually, while stirring, pour in broth, carefully to prevent lumps from forming. Add the apple butter, vinegar, Worcestershire and ginger. Let simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Per serving: calories, 605; protein, 50 g; fat, 23 g; sodium, 679 mg; carbohydrates, 50 g.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Makes 4 biscuits

1/2 cup mashed canned sweet potatoes (mash lightly with a fork)

1 cup Bisquick

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon skim or low-fat milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a flat baking sheet.

Mix all ingredients until just blended. Do not overbeat.

Make 4 equal biscuits by dropping by tablespoons on the baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Serve immediately.

Per serving: calories, 174; protein, 3 g; fat, 4 g; sodium, 357 mg; carbohydrates, 31 g.

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