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Eating for Life | For the holidays, dress up pork with chipotle-cranberry sauce

Easy-to-make pork dish offers sophisticated flavors perfect for a family meal or entertaining.

By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star

Feeding the family is one thing. Entertaining guests is quite another.

The Star’s Pork Tenderloin With Chipotle-Cranberry Sauce does double duty with ease: it is perfect for a family meal but special enough to serve when company comes. Pork tenderloin, a particularly lean cut of meat, is paired with a cranberry sauce spiked with red wine and a bit of smoky chipotle, all ingredients high in antioxidants.

• Shopping tips: A chipotle pepper is a smoked jalapeno. Look for it canned, in adobo sauce, in the Mexican section of the grocery store. Use what is needed for this recipe, then freeze the rest.

Spread the chilies out on a plate, top with a little adobo sauce and freeze for about 30 minutes or until firm. Transfer the frozen chilies to an air-tight freezer bag or container and freeze. By freezing them first, you will find it easier to remove small amounts of chipotle peppers for future recipes. Use in about 6 months.

If desired, substitute a pork loin for the tenderloin. Select a small, boneless pork loin, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, and prepare as directed. Roast at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 155 degrees.

Some pork tenderloins have a very thin, silvery skin or membrane. To remove it, stretch the silvery skin so it is tight. Slip the tip of a sharp knife just underneath it. Slice the skin away from the meat with a back-and-forth motion. If the silvery skin is removed, the meat will be more tender and it will retain its shape while roasting.

• Serving tips: For a holiday presentation, garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary. For an appetizer or first course, increase the chipotle in the cranberry sauce to about 1 1/2 teaspoons, or to taste, and slice the pork tenderloin into very thin medallions. If desired, serve the appetizer slices with chipotle cranberry sauce on small rolls.

To reach Jill Wendholt Silva, call 816-234-4347 or send email to jsilva@kcstar.com.

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