Known as "the other white meat," pork offers a healthy option to people who are tired of red meat and poultry. Sweet flavours enhance the mild taste of pork, and bold flavours offer a welcome contrast. Use your vegetable side dishes to bring these flavour enhancements into your next pork roast dinner.
Root vegetables have a high starch content that becomes slightly sweet when roasted. Since pork pairs well with sweet flavours, roasted root vegetables work well as an accompaniment. Peel some carrots, turnips, parsnips and rutabagas, cut into similar-sized pieces and coat with a bit of oil. Place the vegetables in the roasting pan with the pork roast, season with salt and pepper and cook according to your recipe's directions. Add some minced garlic or shallots and a few sprigs of rosemary for a slightly different flavour profile.
Although often mistaken for root vegetables, potatoes are part of the tuber family. Simple potato preparations, like mashed, baked or roasted, pair the best with the pork. Use russet or sweet potatoes for a side dish that is sure to impress. New or fingerling potatoes pair well, and are best prepared steamed or roasted. Roasting allows the potatoes to soak up some of the fat and flavour of the pork during the roasting process. Peel the potatoes, cut into 25mm (1-inch) cubes, season and place in the bottom of the roasting dish, stirring occasionally, until the pork roast is done and the potatoes are tender.
Sauerkraut made with cabbage makes a surprisingly good accompaniment to pork dishes. The tanginess of the sauerkraut provides a welcome contrast to the mild taste of the pork. Add a side dish of baked apples or applesauce to provide a bit of sweetness to the mix. Like potatoes, Brussels sprouts can be prepared several different ways to accompany your pork roast. For a simple and tasty preparation, clean the Brussels sprouts, season them and toss them in the roasting pan with the pork. If prepared properly, spinach also makes a good partner for your pork roast. Saute the spinach lightly with some pieces of apple and cranberries, or mix in a salad with orange segments and a citrus dressing.
Pair onions with your pork roast to create a tantalising flavour combination. Prepare some red-onion marmalade or chutney, season and roast some leeks, or caramelise some Vidalia onions to add a little tang to your pork dish. Be sure to add some sweetness to the dish by using fruits or coating the pork in brown sugar or honey to fully round out the flavours.
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