Powerful Pairings

Make taste and nutrition a priority for family meals

(Family Features) According to the “Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior,” studies have proven that eating meals together as a family can improve communication and relationships, which is especially important during times of uncertainty and life’s more difficult moments. Great-tasting foods like pork and pulses can be combined to bring families together with quality nutrition, which helps bodies survive and thrive.

Pulses are the nutritionally dense, edible seeds of legumes including dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Together with pork, this pairing provides critical nutrients to support weight management and immune function, along with plenty of protein – providing all nine essential amino acids – fiber, B vitamins, zinc, iron, potassium, selenium and folate.

As part of the Powerful Pairings initiative, launched by the National Pork Board and USA Pulses in an effort to promote pairing whole foods to bring taste, balance and nutrition to the center of the plate, these recipes for Green Chili Jack Smash Burgers, Cuban Black Beans and Pork Chops with Smashed Yellow Peas and Black-Eyed Pea Gravy encourage a nutritious way to enjoy fresh taste.

Find more information, resources and recipes at powerfulpairings.com.

Green Chili Jack Smash Burgers

Recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board and USA Pulses

Servings: 4

Burger Patties:

  • 1          pound ground pork
  • 4          tablespoons red onion, scrubbed with vegetable brush under running water and finely minced
  • 1          teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1          teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 2          teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1          cup cooked black-eyed peas, drained
  • 1          teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 4          slices Jack cheese

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 1          large onion, scrubbed with vegetable brush under running water and sliced thin
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt

Charred Green Chili Mayo:

  • 1          can (3 ounces) diced green chilies
  • 2/3       cup mayonnaise
  • 1          clove garlic, crushed
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • 2          green onions, gently rubbed under cold running water and finely sliced
  • 1/4       cup cilantro, gently rubbed under cold running water and chopped
  • 4          hamburger buns
  • 1          avocado, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2       head lettuce, gently rubbed under cold running water
  1. In large bowl, mix ground pork, onion, garlic and chili powders. Add black-eyed peas and salt; mix well. Form into four loosely packed balls and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make Caramelized Onions: In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm butter. Add onions, water and salt; cook, stirring, until onions soften and turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. To make Charred Green Chili Mayo: Place green chilies in hot cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, turning, until chilies begin to soften and turn black. Remove from heat and place in small bowl. Add mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice; whisk to blend. Add green onions and cilantro; stir well and refrigerate.
  4. To make burgers: Warm cast iron or nonstick griddle pan over medium-high heat. Place pork balls on hot skillet; flatten with heavy metal spatula. Season with salt, to taste. Cook approximately 3 minutes; flip and cook 2-3 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145 F.
  5. Lightly toast buns. Place each burger on toasted bun with slice of cheese, Caramelized Onions, Charred Green Chili Mayo, avocado and lettuce.

Pork Chops with Smashed Yellow Peas and Black-Eyed Pea Gravy

Recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board and USA Pulses

Servings: 4

  • 2          cups yellow split peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/4       cup, plus 2 tablespoons, softened butter, divided
  • 1/4       cup cream
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste
  • 4          pork chops
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          onion, gently rubbed under cold running water and diced
  • 1          can black-eyed peas with juice
  • 1/8       cup flour
  • 1          cup milk
  1. In medium bowl, use fork or potato masher to mash peas. Stir in 1/4 cup butter, cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  2. Season pork chops with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. In large skillet, warm oil over medium heat. Add pork chops to pan and cook approximately 4 minutes per side, or until they reach internal temperature of 145 F. Remove pork chops from pan; keep warm.
  4. In same pan, add remaining butter, onion and black-eyed peas. Cook 2-3 minutes until warm throughout, scraping pan. Add flour and season with salt and pepper, to taste. While stirring, slowly add milk.
  5. Serve mashed peas topped with pork chops and black-eyed pea gravy.

Cuban Black Beans

Recipe courtesy of Carolina Molea on behalf of the National Pork Board and USA Pulses

Serving: 6

  • 1          quart water
  • 1          green bell pepper, scrubbed with vegetable brush under running water and diced, divided
  • 4          cloves garlic, peeled, divided
  • 1          cup dried black beans, rinsed and soaked overnight
  • 1          bay leaf
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2          slices bacon, diced
  • 1/2       Spanish onion, scrubbed with vegetable brush under running water and diced
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  • 2          tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon light brown sugar
  1. Fill large pot with water. Add 1/2 diced green pepper, two garlic cloves, beans and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 hour.
  2. In skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add bacon; cook, turning, until bacon starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Add remaining green pepper and onion; cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Chop remaining garlic cloves. Add to skillet with oregano, cumin and black pepper. Stir 1 minute. Pour in vinegar, scraping browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon.
  4. When beans are cooked, discard bay leaf. Transfer 1 cup beans to blender; blend to make paste. Return blended beans to large pot. Add bacon mixture and sugar. Stir well; bring to boil over medium heat. Lower heat, simmer and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes, skimming foam from top.

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