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Share your holiday pork recipes…and win!

There are families who serve the same thing, year after year, on their holiday table. They know exactly what casserole goes in which dish, which salad will arrive via which relative, and what main course will emerge from the oven with just enough time to rest before dinner’s served.

We’ve never really been that kind of family. Sure, there are traditional dishes that show up often, but this year, when I sent out an email asking if anyone had any required dishes to show up at Thanksgiving, I was met with a resounding silence.

But two years in a row, I’ve served the cornbread and sausage stuffing recipe that Amanda of What We’re Eating posted just in time for Thanksgiving last year, and it may become a staple of my holiday table from here on out. Studded with delicious pork garlic sausage made locally by my favorite butcher and crumbly with cornbread, it’s the perfect gravy-delivery mechanism.

Christmas is always even trickier than Thanksgiving, because while my family has a tradition of having a big Christmas dinner, the main course rotates from year to year, and the side dishes change based on who’s contributing and what everyone feels like. But it generally provides an opportunity to do something out of the ordinary, like the year that Mom rocked a crown roast of pork so delectable that I still think about it. It’s the kind of dish I could never attempt as a single girl cooking for one, so it’s all that more fun to share a dish like that with family and friends around the holiday.

What are your favorite holiday pork recipes? In the comments, share either a full recipe or just a story about how you use pork in dishes on your holiday table. I will use to select a comment number—that person will win a $50 gift card, just in time for last-minute holiday shopping!

But even better, for each comment you leave, the National Pork Board will provide five pounds of pork (up to 100 pounds) to the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Even if you don’t live in my neighborhood, your comment and story can help provide food for hungry people, and that’s the best holiday gift I know.

Thanks to the National Pork Board for providing the food donations, the gift card and sponsoring this contest. Comments will be considered valid if they’re left before midnight PST on December 18. Make sure you include an email address with your comment so I can get in touch with you if you’re the winner. On the 19th, I’ll announce the winner!


Disclosure: The National Pork Board’s PR firm sent me a gift card for taking the time to post about and promote this campaign.

18 Comments on “Share your holiday pork recipes…and win!”

  1. #1 Kim Arroyo Williamson
    on Dec 14th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    As a lifetime vegetarian, I have no pork holiday recipes to share. My family tends to be the type with the same holiday feast every year (which I love, BTW). We have a quinoa stuffing loaf (don’t knock it til you try it!) with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, and some sort of veggies on the side–butternut squash soup and/or peas for the kiddos. And, of course, do not forget the pumpkin pie! I also love yams and persimmons during the holidays. OK, now I am officially hungry, and since none of this include pork, I will stop now.

  2. #2 Pilar
    on Dec 14th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Boy oh boy! How to pick a recipe for pork. I have tons – and I mean tons – of pork ideas! We are an oink loving family and pork is a holiday staple in our homes from:

    (a) the traditional christmas dish of cochinillo (roasted suckling pig! Believe it or not, we have done this in our relatively small Oakland kitchen!)

    (b) embutido (a christmas classic of ground pork, raisings, hard boiled eggs, chorizo and other lovely goodies steamed in a log shape), to the

    (c) classic salty/sweet ham leg that is part of every holiday table!

    Every day pork dishes we love are even more plentiful – from home cured bacon slabs to the national adobo dish (pork stew in vinegar, garlic and soy sauce).

  3. #3 Patty Kirwin
    on Dec 14th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    After working for a pork producer for many, many years, I have collected quite a few pork recipes. However, my favorite is to simply glaze pork tenders with equal parts orange marmalade and yellow mustard. Brush on the glaze about the last 15-20 minutes of the cooking time so the glaze does not burn. Easy and delicious! I’ve also served pork with cranberry sauce on the side. Also wonderful!

  4. #4 Andrea Dodge
    on Dec 14th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Mmmmmm… pork. I like it, but since I’m Jewish and both my daughters go to Jewish schools, it doesn’t end up on our table very often. My husband (not Jewish) loves bacon, and he’s far more likely than I am to prepare it: straight up with scrambled eggs, in pasta carbonara, and the classic least kosher of them all: scallops wrapped in bacon. Happy Chanukah! ;)

  5. #5 Anita / Married ...with Dinner
    on Dec 15th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Well, our holiday turkey stuffing has bacon in it — it’s a critical component. I just wrote about it last month:

    But our biggest pork-related holiday tradition is our family brunch, which is known (erroneously) as Spam & Eggs. In reality, it’s cubed ham and quartered hard-boiled eggs in a cheddar-infused béchamel sauce, served over toast. It’s delicious, but definitely the kind of dish that is best eaten a few times a year! The recipe is here:

  6. #6 Daphne
    on Dec 15th, 2009 at 6:00 am

    I wouldn’t call it a tradition, but I sometimes bring soups to our holiday potlucks. For Thanksgiving I brought minestrone because I could use so many vegetables from the garden (my recipe has sausage in it). For Christmas I might make a Chinese cabbage soup. It uses ground pork or ground turkey (depending upon what I have on hand). I posted the recipe a while back:

  7. #7 Mary vS
    on Dec 16th, 2009 at 1:04 am

    The Christmas season is when my dear friend Norena makes posole. Some people use chicken and green chilis, but Norena’s posole is always made with pork and dried red chiles from New Mexico. As a child she ate this soup in her mother’s Southwest kitchen. Now grown and with children of her own, she gathers friends and family in her Washington kitchen, celebrating life’s blessings over a bowl of this traditional soup.

    Norena doesn’t follow a written recipe, she makes it like her mother did. The proportions vary depending on what is in her pantry and how large a pot she’s using. She simmers pork (ribs, shoulder or roast) in water and chicken broth with garlic, dried mexican oregano and New Mexico dried red chiles (seeded and stemmed.) Towards the end she adds white hominy and seasons the soup with salt.

    While the soup is simmering (one and a half to two hours, till the pork is tender) Norena discards the stems and seeds from chilies and places them in a bowl with boiling-hot water. She soaks them for thirty minutes then purees them in the blender with the soaking liquid, onion, garlic and salt. Some cooks add this sauce to the soup in the pot. At Norena’s, everyone adds sauce to taste, after their soup has been ladled into their individual bowls.

    Norena has a big soup pot and a heart to match. If you stop by her house for posole, you’ll leave feeling nourished, in body and spirit. Happy holidays everyone!

  8. #8 Susan
    on Dec 16th, 2009 at 7:07 am

    There was such a long period of time when I did not eat red meat or pork (back when Genie and I were roommates, in fact – before Iowa, before Oakland, before, before, before). Thankfully, I’ve come to my senses in the meantime. Like Genie’s family, we don’t really have traditional holiday meals. Sure, Thanksgiving always features a turkey … but that’s about the only thing you can count on. One dish that graced our table for more than one Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon. This year we have theatre tickets on Christmas Day so I’m thinking about placing a pork roast in the slow cooker to let the crock pot do the heavy lifting for me. Add a few potatoes and carrots mixed with Dijon mustard, rosemary, and onion and we’ll have an easy dinner that will fill the house with its delicious smell as we arrive home from the Kennedy Center.

  9. #9 Christie
    on Dec 16th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I make a simple pork roast that is delicious and smells so good while cooking. I just rub a good quality pork roast with olive oil, cracked black pepper and minced garlic then put it in my big crock pot on a rack.

    You know, I have been floundering for a different Christmas meal this year and you’ve just settled it… Pork Roast! It’s not turkey, which we just had, but it’s a family favorite and it goes great with stuffing and mashed potatoes.

  10. #10 Scott D
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 9:35 am

    I love pork tenderloin. Here’s a really simple, but satisfying recipe.

    1 1/4 pound pork tenderloin
    2 tablespoons brown sugar
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    Heat oven to 450°F. Place pork on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Combine remaining ingredients; spread half over the pork. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Spread with remaining mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until meat thermometer reads 160F.

  11. #11 sam
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I’d be lying if I said I put pork on my holiday table… I don’t even have a holiday table. But you know what, I eat pork all year round. For starters, my fridge is *never* without Fatted Calf bacon. My freezer is always stocked with cuts of Boccalone’s ham. And I have rather a thing for baby back ribs. Always delicious and good value too.

  12. #12 Jen
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:27 am

    This is a wonderful idea. So lovely that people get on board with it.

    I wish we had something like this around here.

    Generally we use a wonderful rub on our pork, it has cabernet powder, and cocoa, and garlic, and yum. It makes any pork taste wonderful.

    Happy Christmas.


  13. #13 Diana Foss
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:28 am

    I also have no family pork holiday tradition, but a seasonal porky favorite is roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and onions. Or, if you want to get really fancy, the Brussels sprouts salad served at Pizza Antica in San Jose, where each individual sprout is peeled into individual leaves, then tossed with a hot dressing with bacon and fried onions, olive oil and red wine vinegar, thyme and garlic, then served with chopped hard-cooked eggs and croutons.

    Thanks for making the food donation happen!

  14. #14 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I’m not a pork eater, so I have no stories to share — but wanted to do my part to help the Food Bank!

  15. #15 Susan Borie Chambers
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Shake ‘n’ Bake Pork Chops, baby- that was a family staple on our table. My mother would make them that way but then add her German flair- roasted potatoes and sauerkraut. Yum.

    There is a true pig farmer here in Davis who sells his pork at the Davis Farmer’s Market- his pork chops are 3-4 inches thick! His wife, who knows her way around the pig, said she just makes her chops very simply, dredged in flour, browned in oil, then baked for awhile in the oven while she cooks some tart apples in the dredge pan. The apples get thrown on top at the end. Yum again.

  16. #16 Kimberly
    on Dec 18th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    One of my fave special occasion entrees is an apricot and pecan stuffed pork loin roast from my hometown’s Junior League cookbook. I’m no Junior Leaguer, but I love this recipe.

  17. #17 Leslie Zellers
    on Dec 19th, 2009 at 12:48 am

    The traditional family breakfast on Christmas morning when I was growing up was scrambled eggs, bacon, freshly baked chocolate chip scones, and mimosas. My mom particularly loved the mimosas, our next door neighbor (who always joined us for Christmas morning) loved the scrambled eggs, and my dad — who was not allowed to eat anything fatty after his quadruple bypass surgery — loved getting to eat bacon on Christmas. It’s a holiday after all, no rules apply.

  18. #18 karen
    on Dec 19th, 2009 at 6:47 am

    We cook up a ham for thanksgiving instead of turkey. We also cook up ham slices in crock pots at work for our potluck lunch and often have ham for christmas dinner. It could be that we used to be in hog production, or just that it smells and tastes so good!

    I could share a recipe for cooking it with brown sugar, pop and pineapple, but I won’t because, my family doesn’t like it any other way than plain. I’m the one that loves the pineapple!

    I hope I’m not too late. I just discovered you this morning and I see it is deadline day!

    karen- just across the river–in IL