One of the complaints about trying to lose weight is having to eat “diet” food. Well, with the occasional exception of a frozen dinner here and there, I don’t DO “diet” food. I do food. There’s a common idiom I hear often in weight loss circles: eat to live, don’t live to eat. I have a serious problem with this: it implies (much like the phrase “clean eating”) that there is a right way and a wrong way to eat. Why can’t the answer be somewhere in the middle? I have a very good friend to whom food is deserving of worship, deeply tied to emotion and memory. I have an acquaintance who couldn’t care less about food having flavor: baked chicken breasts, brown rice and steamed broccoli would make her happy for months. As is almost always the case with me, I fall in the middle of the spectrum.
Okay, look, if I’m honest, I fall closer to the worship side. There are most decidedly foods worth worship for me: creamy foie gras pate with concord grape reduction, perfectly cooked duck breast with crispy skin (including bits of baguette dipped in the savory juices), duck hearts grilled rare, juicy smoked kielbasa, the corner pizza shop’s chicken parmesan. The list goes on. But if I want to lose or maintain my weight (and maintain my budget), I simply can’t eat those things on a daily basis. However, there’s no reason I can’t have delicious, flavorful foods without blowing my calories, particularly if I’m willing to tweak a recipe.
I have a bit of a problem with recipes. I can spend hours browsing the internet for recipes: and Pinterest is the worst for this. The problem is, most of the recipes I wind up bookmarking might be delicious, but they just aren’t everyday recipes, meaning, the calories are on the high side. So, being fairly confident in the kitchen, I find a recipe I love and tweak it! Several weeks ago I bookmarked a delicious looking Pork and Cider Stew from Food & Wine Magazine. Pork shoulder, bacon, butter, olive oil AND heavy cream make this recipe sound incredibly rich and comforting. I kept going back to the recipe: it just seemed so perfect for chilly February. So, this week, I decided to adapt it. Here’s my method for adapting almost any recipe.
Here’s a comparison of the ingredients lists and nutritional information:
So how does it TASTE? Because I mean, really, what’s the point of cooking healthy food if it tastes awful and you don’t want to eat it, right?
I mean, uh, it’s pretty awful, I should just eat it all myself. Save you the trouble. *cough*
Just kidding, it was DELICIOUS! Seriously: it was rich, creamy, smoky, salty and the pork was so incredibly tender you barely had to chew. The only change The Hubs and I will make for this recipe in the future is to leave out the sage. We found it too strong and a bit overpowering. Maybe thyme would be a good substitute? I personally think it would be fine without any fresh herbs at all. And seriously? You do not need heavy cream in this recipe at all. The little bit of evaporated skim milk plus the cornstarch gave it a velvety mouth feel that was just divine. You can find MY lightened version of this recipe, ready to print, HERE, if you have a SparkPeople account. If you don’t, you can click the image below.