From trendy takes on classic comfort foods to stepped-up side dishes, pork is taking a new twist on holiday meals with a wide range of simple, sophisticated dishes.
Consumers are hungry for this information and inspiration, according to the National Pork Board's second annual Holiday Table Trends survey, which reveals that nine out of 10 Americans are looking to incorporate retro dishes into their holiday menus this year.
"Thanks to its versatility, pork has a starring role in any of these tasty trends," says Jill Silverman Hough, a food and wine expert and author of the 100 Perfect Pairings cookbook series.
The Pork Checkoff tapped Silverman Hough to create new recipes based on the trends uncovered by the Holiday Table Trends survey. The "Pork's Perfect Pairings Report: 2011 Guide to the Holiday Table" showcases six flavorful options from brunch to dinner with wine pairings to match, including:
• Small plate showstoppers. Popularized by restaurants, the small plate trend is making a big impact for at-home entertaining. Scaled-down servings mean freedom to experiment with crowd pleasers like Buffalo Pork Skewers with Blue Cheese Sauce.
• Global cuisines. Of the 1,000 people who participated in the Pork Checkoff's holiday survey, 80% are especially intrigued by Italian flavors this year. In response, the "Pork's Perfect Pairings Report" features Italian-Herbed Crown Roast of Pork to bring global flavor and unmatched elegance to the holiday table. Consumers are also encouraged to visit PorkBeInspired.com to review simple tips for preparing a crown roast, from assembly to a mouthwatering tableside presentation.
• Stepped-up sides. There's more to holiday entertaining than the centerpiece dish, and retro-inspired sides like Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Frizzled Ham offer extra center-of-the-table flair.
• Benefits of brunch. During the hectic holiday season, few things are as refreshing as a casual but generous midday feast with friends and family. Hearty dishes like Pork Roast Strata with Green Chiles and Goat Cheese cut down on the kitchen workload while repurposing last night's leftovers.
• DIY 2.0. From jam to sausage, Americans are savoring homemade edibles, including Bacon and Sweet Potato Biscuits with Smoky Honey Butter.
• Flavor flashbacks. Almost 90% of people surveyed said they'd like to see some bygone bites on their end-of-year menus. To serve up a taste of nostalgia with a modern twist during holiday parties, the Pork Checkoff is featuring Sausage and Deviled Egg Salad Sliders.
Pork inspires simple yet special meals
Silverman Hough is the perfect spokesperson to help promote these festive dishes, says Pamela Johnson, director of consumer communications for the Pork Checkoff.
"Jill's culinary creativity and love of pork are impressive, and she makes simple--yet special--meals totally accessible to home chefs."
To spread the word, the Pork Checkoff has distributed an electronic media kit, complete with holiday recipes, photos and the "Pork's Perfect Pairings Report," to traditional media outlets and the blogging community, including the popular KitchenPLAY site where a December Progressive Party menu will feature more pork- and trend-inspired recipes. The information encourages consumers to visit PorkBeInspired.com, where they can sign up for the Pork Checkoff's monthly Quick Bites e-newsletter to receive pork updates, recipe inspiration and more.
"We want to inspire consumers with new ideas and flavors, which can help families enjoy tasty pork and reconnect around the table, not only during the holidays, but throughout the year," Johnson says.
For more information, contact Pamela Johnson, PJohnson@pork.org, (515) 223-3528.