January 2016 Fig Focus

New! FABULOUS FIG Recipe Series–Curry-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs & Vegetables

Cold winter days call for comfort food and, after the busy baking holidays, spending less time in the kitchen.  Eating more healthfully is top-of-mind, too. Our new recipe delivers on all counts. Turn on the oven and warm your kitchen and your soul with an oven-roasted meal cooked on a single baking sheet.  Season pork tenderloin, butternut squash and cauliflower with a fragrant curry spice mix; while they roast, simmer figs in a lemon-honey glaze to stir into the cooked vegetables and brush on the pork. It’s simple yet satisfying. For a heartier meal, roast potato wedges, tossed with garlic-oil, salt and pepper on a separate sheet in the oven at the same time.

Insider tips to success:

  • To streamline preparation buy ready-to-cook packages of cubed butternut squash and cauliflower florets.
  • Curry powder, a mix of various spices, gets its golden color from turmeric. The blend varies according to the manufacturer and ranges from mild to spicy-hot. To save money look for a market that sells spices in bulk and purchase just what you need. 
  • Pounding whole peppercorns and coriander seed releases the flavorful volatile oils and adds an interesting texture to the Spice Mix.
  • Trim and discard surface fat and silverskin from the pork tenderloin to help the seasonings adhere to the meat. 
  • If you don’t have a large, 13-x-18-inch rimmed baking sheet, use two smaller sheets, one for the pork and one for the vegetables. Rotate the sheets once or twice during roasting

Curry-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs & Vegetables 

Pounding and mixing spices

Seasoning vegetables and placing on baking sheet

Assembling ingredients for glaze

Cooking fig glaze in saucepan.

Roasted pork and veggies with figs scattered on top

Curry-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs & Vegetables

Makes 4 servings.
Prep time:  20 minutes
Cook time:  30 minutes

Curry Spice Mix:
3 ½ teaspoons curry powder
2 to 2 ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt
1 ½ teaspoons coarsely ground or cracked black pepper*
1 ½ teaspoons cracked coriander seed*

Pork & Vegetables:
1 pound peeled, cubed (3/4-inch) butternut squash
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil, divided use
7 teaspoons Spice Mix (above), divided use
1 pound cauliflower florets (1 ½-inch pieces)
1 pork tenderloin (1 pound), trimmed

Fig Glaze:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced (use white part for glaze and green for Garnish) 
1 cup Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and halved
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Spice Mix (above)

Garnish:
Thinly sliced green onion (green part) 

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position.  Preheat oven to 425°.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  If using foil, spray or brush with oil. 

2. In small bowl, combine ingredients for Spice Mix. 

3. In medium bowl, combine squash, 2 teaspoons Spice Mix and 1 tablespoon oil. Spread in a single layer on baking sheet. Repeat with cauliflower (2 teaspoons spice mix and 1 tablespoon oil) and spread on baking sheet. Rub 1 teaspoon oil on pork. Pat 1 tablespoon Spice Mix onto all sides of pork. Place on one side of baking sheet. 

4. Place sheet in middle of oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until pork is 145° for medium and vegetables are tender. Meanwhile, make glaze: In small saucepan, warm oil and white part of green onion over low heat until sizzling. Stir in figs, lemon juice, honey, water and remaining Spice Mix. Bring to a gentle simmer; cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat and reserve. Remove figs from glaze with slotted spoon and scatter over vegetables. Brush glaze on pork, figs and vegetables. 

5.  To serve, cut pork into thin slices and serve with figs and vegetables. Garnish with green onion. 

*To crack peppercorns and seeds, put in double layer zipper lock plastic bag, place on a cutting board and crush with rolling pin, mallet or skillet. 

Lorelle Del Matto, MS, RDN, is a nutrition and culinary professional who combines a passion for food (and California Figs) with a quest for nutrition knowledge. She believes well designed and tested recipes can be great communication tools. Lorelle has a Master’s of Science in nutrition biology and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Lorelle developed her culinary skills in France at La Varenne, Ecole de Cuisine. You can find more recipes and healthy lifestyle tips to inspire you to “savor the art of healthy eating” on her website lorelledelmatto.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

Count on California Figs

Valley Fig Growers welcomes 2016 with a new coumn called “Count on California Figs”. Each month we’ll be sharing ways you can Count on California Figs to add taste and good health to your everyday living. 

Our recipe this month Curry-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Figs & Vegetables makes it easy to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables as recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ guide to good nutrition.  

If you’re watching your sodium intake use the lower amount called for in our recipe. Counting calories?  A pork tenderloin roast is lean and full of juicy, meaty flavor.  The entire meal this month has under 500 calories and provides 220% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, 120% DV for Vitamin C, 20% DV for iron and 15% DV for calcium. 

Looking to find a diet that’s right for you? A good place to start is with the U.S. News report on the Best Diets of 2015. They evaluated and ranked 35 diets and provide and provide tips on how to pick the best diet for you. Their top two choices are the government-endorsed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the National Institute’s of Health Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, diet. Both promote eating fruits and vegetables, so you will have no problem enjoying your favorite California Dried Figs. 

Join in with our Fig-Loving Community Online: Figs Fit

If November and December tend toward indulgence, there’s one thing that can be said about a new year: it gives each of us a fresh slate. If you make resolutions or gear up to set goals, you’re going to want to check out our social media. All throughout January, we willl be sharing healthy recipes featuring California figs. Whatever kind of dietary plan you follow, figs fit–whether you’re thinking about trying out a paleo regimen, getting into eating gluten-free, very excited about going plant-free and vegan, or just looking to ramp up your breakfast game. High in fiber, rich in calcium, and full of flavor, California figs fit into your health goals for a glowing year ahead. Tell us on Facebook your healthy recipe using California figs.

Harissa-Spiced Golden Fig and Chicken Soup {Paleo}

Yields 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons light olive oil or avocado oil, divided
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenders, chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups peeled, deseeded, and small cubed butternut squash (about 1/2-inch cubes)
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, crushed or minced
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (see Note)
2 tablespoons harissa paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice Golden Figs
Lemon wedges, for serving

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 5-quart soup pot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken pieces in an even layer and cook until browned, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the browned chicken to a bowl and set aside. Brown the remaining chicken the same way and remove it from the pot.

Turn the heat down to medium and add the squash and onion to the pot. Cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock, pumpkin puree, harissa, salt, and browned chicken along with any juices that have accumulated. Bring the soup up to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the squash is tender and the chicken is fully cooked, about 20 minutes, adding the figs after 10 minutes.

Taste and add more salt and/or harissa paste as desired. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze on top, or let the flavors marry overnight and reheat to serve the next day when it’s even better.

Notes: Pumpkin Puree: In addition to adding flavor, this ingredient serves to slightly thicken the soup and give its broth some body; if you don’t have pumpkin puree on hand, you can substitute 1/4 cup dried red lentils or 3 tablespoons tomato paste. Each will impart a slightly different, but still delicious, flavor to the soup.

Recipe created for Valley Fig Growers by Faith Gorsky of www.AnEdibleMosaic.com.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

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