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Pork perfect dining partner paired with lemon, herbs

Pork is a meat I prepare as often as I possibly can. It typically is lean, low in calories and totally delicious served either as an entrée by itself or in combination with other ingredients.

It also has been a good buy lately, with a variety of excellent cuts available at very economical pricing.

This week, I'm sharing a couple of kitchen-tested recipes that are easy and elegant when served to family or dinner guests.

The Irish Loin of Pork with Lemon and Herbs is a recipe I uncovered while searching for an Irish menu entrée to serve during a gourmet dining experience with friends. The recipe may sound a little intimidating at first, but it was easy to prepare and so mouthwatering wonderful.

It was like eating a piece of pork prime rib when served with au jus poured over the top of a thick slice of the meat and the side of homemade mashed potatoes I made to complement the entrée.

The Porkchop and Potato Bake is awesomely simple, as is the Porkchop and Rice, and Porkchop and Stuffing recipe. Each have succinctly different flavors that are a perfect blend of the soups, seasoning and the spices in accompanying accent ingredients.

All that is necessary for the latter three is a bowl of your favorites greens tossed with a creamy salad dressing, and a huge loaf of fresh French bread, and the meals are absolutely complete.

Until next week, from my kitchen to yours, happy cooking!

Irish Loin of Pork with Lemon and Herbs

6 lbs. boneless pork loin

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1/4 cup onions, minced

1/4 cup rind of lemon, finely grated

1 Tbsp. basil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

3/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup dry sherry

Pat pork dry and score well with a sharp knife. Combine parsley, onion, lemon peel, basil, and garlic in a small bowl. Whisk in 2/3 of oil and rub into pork. Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight. Let pork stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush pork with remaining olive oil. Set on rack in shallow pan. Roast until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of meat registers 170 degrees F, about 2 1/2 hours. Set meat aside.

Degrease pan juices. Blend sherry into pan juices. Cover and cook over low heat 2 minutes. Pour into sauceboat. Transfer pork to platter. Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve sauce separately.

Porkchop and Potato Bake

6 porkchops

Season salt

1 (24 oz.) pkg. hash browns (thawed)

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 cup milk

1 cup (or more) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 can Durkee French Fried Onions

Brown and season porkchops. Set aside. In bowl combine hash browns, cream of celery soup, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and 1/2 can onions. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Place porkchops on top of this. Cover and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake, uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Porkchops and Rice

4 porkchops

1 cup raw rice

1 can of your favorite flavor cream soup

1 package dry onion soup mix

Pour rice into greased 9x9" casserole. Pour can of cream soup mixed with a can and a half of water over rice. Pour packet of dry soup mix over top and save a little to sprinkle over porkchops. Place uncooked porkchops in dish and sprinkle with the remaining soup. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half so they are good and done and kind of fall apart.

Porkchops and Stuffing

Mix a package of Stove Top Dressing according to instructions. Place into greased 9x9 inch casserole dish. Place four uncooked porkchops on top.

Mix 1 can cream of chicken soup with ¾ cup of commercial sour cream and cover the porkchops like frosting.

Bake in 350 degree oven for an hour until well done.