Apricots add a nutritious punch to pork dish

May 16, 2007|By Jill Wendholt Silva | Jill Wendholt Silva,McClatchy-Tribune

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A, a nutrient essential to good vision. But fresh or dried apricots that have been cooked contain even more beta carotene, an antioxidant the body converts to vitamin A. Cooking the apricot also releases lycopene, an antioxidant, and pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers LDL cholesterol, according to Fight Back With Food by Reader's Digest.

This recipe pairs lean chops with dried apricots, both foods high in iron. Iron is more easily absorbed when paired with foods that are high in vitamin C. By cooking the apricots in orange juice, you're not only creating a delicious sauce, but you're also making the iron more available.

But the real benefit: The foods taste great together.

Apricot Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup apricot preserves

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 small, boneless loin pork chops, each 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (about 1 pound total)

salt and pepper to taste

2 green onions, chopped

Place apricots in a deep bowl. Pour orange juice over apricots. Add preserves, brown sugar and curry powder and stir gently. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Cook chops about 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low. Add apricot-and-juice mixture. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until pork chops reach 160 degrees on meat thermometer.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with green onions.

Per serving: 293 calories, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 51 milligrams cholesterol, 37 grams carbohydrate, 22 grams protein, 55 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber

Recipe analysis provided by The Kansas City Star.

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