Two Healthy Fall Recipes from Dr. Michael Fenster – Pork Stew, Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate

South African Spiced Roast Stew from What's Cooking with Doc

South African Spiced Roast Stew from What’s Cooking with Doc

South African Spiced Roast Pork Stew

Makes 12 Servings; serving size 12 oz

360 calories per serving, 12g total fat; 85 mg cholesterol; 32g total carbohydrate

Here is a cold weather favorite “doc’d up” to add a little exotic spice to the usual roast pork stew. The trimmed pork loin makes for a lean meat addition for this cool weather classic. The serving size is a hearty 12 ounces to fill the emptiest belly on a chilly autumn eve, but comes in at only 380 calories; an 8 ounce serving is only about 250 calories. The gelatin adds a velvety richness to the sauce without having to use demi-glace or other troublesome calorie and fat adding components. The South African 5 Spice Blend recipe can be found on the website ( but it is simply a combination of ground ginger, cumin, anise seed, coriander and cinnamon. This stew includes turmeric which has revealed itself to be a powerful anti inflammatory and cancer fighting compound. The active complex in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric has antibacterial and cancer fighting properties. It may also be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease, depression and multiple sclerosis. It is a cyclooxygenase-2 (a type of enzyme involved in inflammation) inhibitor. Thus it is beneficial in arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. It may also aid in weight loss by increasing fat metabolism.

4-5 pounds trimmed pork (I use the end cuts of the loin)

2 -3 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon anchovy paste

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon Doc’s African 5 Spice

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 ½ cups thinly sliced onion

1 ½ cups carrots in ~ 1 inch chunks

¼ cup AP flour

2 cups white wine

2 cups chicken stock

2 bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh cilantro

1 pound potatoes, chopped into ~ 1 inch cubes

1 packet unflavored gelatin

½ cups pearl onion

1 cup frozen peas

Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Cut the pork into rough ~ 1 inch bits and set aside. Combine anchovy, garlic and tomato paste in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed oven proof pot, heat the oil until smoking. Brown the pork in batches and remove. Add back the meat, the carrots and onions to the Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook until onions have softened, around 1-2 minutes.

Add the garlic, anchovy, and tomato paste mixture as well as the 5-spice, garam masala, paprika and turmeric and cook another 30 seconds. Add the flour, coating the components and cook another 30 seconds. Add the wine, and increase the heat to high and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the liquid has slightly thickened. Add the chicken stock. Add the bay leaves, thyme and cilantro and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and cook for 90 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook for another 45 minutes.

While this is cooking, bloom 1 packet of unflavored gelatin in a separate bowl. After the potatoes have cooked for 45 minutes, remove from the oven and place over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the peas and pearl onions and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the gelatin and stir until dissolved, about 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and serve.


Roast Butternut Squash with Pomegranate

Makes 12 servings; serving size 4 oz

120 calories per serving; 8g total fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 12g total carbohydrate

  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) butternut squash, peeled seeded and rough chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Pomegranate, seeded
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp butter

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the squash on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the squash is tender. Remove and allow the squash to cool.

When ready prepare, heat a medium saucepan with some olive oil over medium heat. Cook the shallots until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and heat, allow it to gently mash into smaller chunks as you cook it, about another 8-12 minutes. Add the pomegranate seeds, cream and butter. Remove from heat, season and serve.


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