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Festive Flavors for the Holidays

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Cider-and-Beer-Braised Pork with Chocolate Mole

(Family Features) - Updating holiday menus doesn't have to mean out with the old and in with the new. Having a bit of fun by mixing up seasonal flavors can reinvigorate comfortable family classics while still evoking cozy memories of holidays past.

This is good news for the eight out of 10 people who described their 2009 holiday meals as "predictable," according to the National Pork Board's "Holiday Table Trends 2010" survey. To help break free from holiday predictability, celebrity chef Michael Symon has created pork pairings inspired by the survey results.

"Pork's versatility makes it my first choice for holiday dinners," said Symon. "I can pair pork with sweet holiday favorites like cranberry and cinnamon - and explore unexpected flavors like chocolate - when recreating holiday classics."

The survey also found that chocolate was a top-rated festive flavor that many people would never consider pairing with pork. But Symon insists that mole, a savory Mexican sauce that incorporates chocolate, is a perfect pork pairing. He created this "Cider-and-Beer-Braised Pork with Chocolate Mole" recipe to show how pork's savory flavor can be enhanced by almost any holiday ingredient.

Chef Symon has created more holiday recipes, such as "Coriander and Cumin Roasted Rack of Pork with Five Spice Pumpkin Puree." For these recipes, a free brochure filled with tips, and videos for how to celebrate the season with pork, visit www.TheOtherWhiteMeat.com and facebook.com/TheOtherWhiteMeat.

Cider-and-Beer-Braised Pork with Chocolate Mole

  • 1 2 1/4-pound boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt roast), exterior fat removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons canola OR olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 large jalapeño chile, seeds removed and minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 16 ounces lager beer (2 cups)
  • 2 cups pure pressed, pasteurized apple cider OR juice (not from concentrate)
  • 3 ounces grated or very finely chopped Mexican chocolate*
  • 3 limes, juiced and zested
  • 6 cups hot cooked rice

    1. Pat pork cubes dry with paper towels; season with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in 5- to 6-quart heavy Dutch oven. Add half the pork. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl. Brown remaining pork in remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add all pork back to Dutch oven.
    2. Stir in onion, almonds, jalapeño and garlic. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until onion is crisp-tender and translucent.
    3. Stir in coriander seed, cumin seed, smoked paprika and ancho chile powder; cook for 1 minute. Add beer and apple cider and bring to a simmer. Cover and gently simmer over medium-low or low heat for 2 hours.
    4. If desired, cool mixture. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Spoon and discard fat from top of chilled mixture. Heat mixture over medium-high heat.
    5. Stir in lime juice and zest, and chocolate into hot mixture. Serve over rice.

Preparation Time
55 minutes

Cook Time
2 hours

Chill Time
up to 24 hours (optional)

8 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
* If Mexican chocolate is unavailable, use 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate plus 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 3 drops almond extract.

To Plate: Spoon rice into shallow bowls and top with pork in mole sauce.
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SOURCE: National Pork Board

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