In most households a glistening baked ham takes focus at the table on Easter Sunday. For many it’s a tradition that isn’t often broken for fear of a family riot. But Easter doesn’t have to be all about ham. If you’re willing to stray from tradition and try a new and different main dish, Food Network has some great ideas for your holiday meal.
How about a rack of lamb or a roast pork loin or maybe even turkey? Lamb is actually a very popular Easter main dish in other parts of the world and pork comes in at a pretty close second. The following recipes are perfect for any Easter gathering, with flavors that bridge the changing seasons. Who knows — your family might just surprise you and love the new dish even more than the ham.
Get the Easter main dish recipes
One of my long-held theories about life is that most people fall into one of two entertaining camps. You are either dinner party people or potluck people. If you’re a dinner party person, the nights when you have friends over are well-orchestrated. You make the entire meal or if you delegate parts of it, you give specific recipe assignments. Wine and beer is planned, purchased in advance and appropriately chilled. Tables are set sometime in the afternoon and there’s always a carefully arranged cheeseboard.
Potluck people are less concerned with the details. They issue an invitation to gather without carefully balancing the numbers of couples and singles. They don’t make the whole meal but instead announce the main dish they’ll be providing and then ask guests to fill in the blanks as they see them. If asked to comment on whether a dish might go well with the planned menu, the answer is always a happy-go-lucky “Sure!”
I have long been a potluck person. I love eating with friends, but rarely can I be bothered with the worry of formal guest lists or long hours of prep time. I am married to someone, however, who is more comfortable when the details are firmly nailed down and so I found myself throwing a very uncharacteristic dinner party last Saturday night.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
On a recent visit to Budapest, the capital of Hungary, I was lucky enough to enjoy a terrific meal at a restaurant called Bock Bisztro, which served many dishes made from Mangalitsa pork. Although I had eaten the meat of this particular breed of pig before and knew just how delicious and fully flavored it could be, this was the first time I noticed how incredibly versatile it is. The meal easily rates as one of my best in recent years.
I hope that watching the Iron Chef’s work with this magnificent beast in Kitchen Stadium will inspire you to go in search of this alternative to traditional pork breeds, either in the restaurants of some of the nation’s top chefs or in your own kitchens.
You won’t regret it.
What is a Mangalitsa pig?
Mangalitsa pigs, or as they are known in their native Hungary, Mangalica pigs, are a breed of hog that is renowned for their deeply flavored meat and for their high fat content. The name Mangalica literally means “hog with a lot of lard.” They are sometimes also known as “wooly pigs” because of the curly haired fleece that covers their body.
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Much like chicken, pork is a hefty meat that can handle the robust flavors and textures of any number of dry rubs, marinades, stuffings and more. When it comes to shopping for pork tenderloins, you have a few options. You can pick up a single, multi-pound tenderloin or look for several longer, skinnier ones that each hover around one pound. Fix your family a dinner of tender, juicy pork using Food Network’s top five pork tenderloin recipes, which are an ideal mix of classic and creative preparations.
5. Pork Tenderloin With Seasoned Rub (pictured above) — Equal parts garlic powder, oregano, thyme, cumin and coriander complete Ellie’s herbaceous dry rub.
4. Mushroom-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin — Sautéed cremini mushrooms, breadcrumbs and garlic are easily stuffed in butterflied tenderloins.
Get the top three recipes »
Alton Brown’s lip-smacking marinade of molasses, apple cider vinegar and dijon mustard will have your family begging for these thick-cut pork chops all summer long. If you don’t have a grill, use a grill pan — over medium-high heat, these pork chops will cook up in less than 10 minutes.
Editor’s tip: Make the marinade the night before — the longer the pork is submerged in it, the more flavorful it will be.
Get the recipe: Alton’s Molasses-and-Coffee Pork Chops
Browse more of Food Network’s pork recipes and head over to Grilling Central for all your BBQ needs.
Impress the family tonight with Guy’s Latin-inspired pork chops with a spicy rub and citrus marinade. While the total time of this recipe says it takes “1 hour 45 minutes” to make, don’t fret. The pork chops will marinate in the refrigerator for an hour, leaving you time to help the kids with their homework or to make a refreshing side salad like this Avocado Salad With Tomatoes, Lime, and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette.
Get the recipe: Guy’s Cuban Pork Chops With Mojo
Browse more of Food Network’s pork recipes.
So good it doesn’t even need a bun, making Alton’s sweet and spicy pulled pork is easier than you think. Juicy and flavorful, the pork soaks overnight in a molasses-spiked brine and is smoked with a cumin, fennel, coriander and chili dry rub for 12 hours. Need help? Watch Alton make this recipe.
Get the recipe: Alton’s Pulled Pork
Browse more of Food Network’s Memorial Day recipes.
According to MSNBC and the AP: “The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will announce today that it has lowered its temperature recommendation for cooking pork to 145 degrees. That’s a change from the agency’s longstanding guideline and means pork will be held to the same standard as beef, veal and lamb.”
Previously, the USDA recommended pork be cooked until an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit had been reached.
“With its lower temperature recommendation, the USDA also called for letting the pork rest for 3 minutes after removing it from the grill or oven. The meat’s temperature will remain constant or rise during that period, killing any pathogens,” says the AP.
Read more on MSNBC.
Try these 5 new pork recipes tonight or make the dish pictured above: Guy’s Cuban Pork Chops With Mojo.