I don’t often cook with wine but it really makes a difference in this dish. I like this because there’s not a lot of hands-on time and it’s easy to throw together but it’s fancy enough to serve to company. Plus the meat is really tender so it's easy for my kids to eat.
How I “healthified” the recipe:
- The original recipe called for 1 lb each of pork loin and mild Italian sausage. I increased the pork loin to 1 ½ lbs and decreased the sausage to only 4 oz because pork loin is a leaner meat. However, there was still enough sausage to add flavor.
- In the original recipe, the sausage was cooked in the saucepan and the resulting grease was used to sauté the onions. I cooked the sausage in a separate pan so I could drain the grease and then I used a little bit of olive oil for sautéing the onions.
- The original recipe was thickened with 1 Tbsp of corn starch. I substituted whole wheat flour. To do this I needed to double the amount of cornstarch called for, so 2 Tbsp of flour instead of 1 Tbsp of cornstarch. I added the flour to the saucepan with the sausage and spices so that it could be cooked into the dish for a few minutes. This stops it from having a raw flour taste.
- Finally, I pureed 3 big handfuls of spinach into the liquid to boost the nutritional profile. You know I’m all about adding veggies to everything and there is so much flavor from the wine and rosemary that you can’t taste the spinach at all. The added spinach is not essential to the recipe so I made it optional in the ingredients. However, it does add a lot of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Iron.
- The results - A significant reduction in overall calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium and a big increase in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron.
- 1 ½ pounds boned pork loin (I use pork loin country style ribs)
- 2 - 4oz links mild Italian sausage
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 ½ cups chopped onion
- 1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (1 ½ tsp dried)
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 ¼ cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 3 big handfuls fresh spinach or a 9oz box of frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained (optional)
- 1 ¼ cups Zinfandel or other dry red wine
- 1 28oz can and 1 15oz can no salt added diced tomatoes, undrained (or 3 15oz cans)
TWO: In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onion, and sauté 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned (watch it carefully because it will go from brown to burnt really quickly… you know, not that I speak from experience or anything). Add pork and sauté 5 minutes until no longer pink.
THREE: Add sausage, rosemary, salt, pepper, and flour to saucepan. Cook 2 minutes stirring regularly.
FOUR: In a blender or food processor, puree the spinach (if using) into the broth and stir into the saucepan along with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; cook for 5 minutes.
FIVE: Add tomatoes and their juices to saucepan, and return to a boil; cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until it reaches a consistency of thick stew (it will be a bit thinner than spaghetti sauce).
Serve over brown rice or pasta. Freeze leftovers in ¾ cup servings using the medium/large portion method to feed your freezer stash. For Once a Month Cooking this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.
Original Recipe: 283 Calories (153 Calories from Fat), 17g Fat, 6g Saturated Fat, 67mg Cholesterol, 496mg Sodium, 10g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 4g Sugars, 18g Protein, 3% DV Vitamin A, 24% DV Vitamin C, 7% DV Calcium, 13% DV Iron
New Healthier Recipe: 215 Calories (78 Calories from Fat), 9g Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 58mg Cholesterol, 288mg Sodium, 11g Total Carbohydrates, 3g Dietary Fiber, 4g Sugars, 18g Protein, 56% DV Vitamin A, 36% DV Vitamin C, 9% DV Calcium, 17% DV Iron