Celebrity Chef Tre Wilcox’s Soul Food Recipes That Are Hearty, But Good For The Heart

February 1, 2016  |  

It’s February! And during the month of February, two very important things are observed and discussed (and I’m not talking about love for Valentine’s Day). That includes Black History Month and heart health. The month of February is Heart Month. And one way we impact our heart’s health is through our diets.

Tre Wilcox is a celebrity chef who has been on Top Chef and Iron Chef America. He also concocts hearty and healthy dishes for the likes of Russell Simmons and retired NBA star Jerry Stackhouse. A lover and expert in soul food, Wilcox has teamed up with the National Pork Board and is sharing some dishes that he created for PorkBeInspired.com with us that we love. They have reduced fat, lower calories, and even less sodium. And less of such things is important in the fight to take care of our hearts and extend our lives. So, with that being said, check out these succulent and savory dishes that are oh so good, but pretty good for you too.



Spicy-Sweet Pork Stir Fry

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lbs. boneless pork sirloin, cut into ½-inch cubes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons bacon drippings or vegetable oil divided

2 cups frozen corn kernels

1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 small garlic clove)

2-1/2 cups fresh turnip greens or kale, rinsed and drained, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1/1/2 cups matchstick-cut carrots

1/2 medium red onion cut into wedges (about 1 cup sliced wedges)

1/2 cup sweet chili sauce

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

In a large bowl, sprinkle your pork sirloin cubes with salt, pepper and mix it all together lightly. Heat one tablespoon of drippings or oil into a 10 to 12-inch skillet until it’s hot. Add corn and garlic and then cook over medium-high heat, occasionally stirring for five to seven minutes until kernels begin to brown. Remove the corn from the skillet and set it aside. Reduce heat and then add a remaining tablespoon of drippings or oil to your skillet. Add your pork cubes, cook and stir over medium-high heat for three to five minutes until cubes are lightly browned.  Add your prepared corn, carrots, greens and onions to the skillet, cook and stir for five to seven minutes or until your vegetables are crisp, yet tender. Reduce heat to low.  Stir in combined sweet chili sauce and vinegar, and heat two to three minutes or until thoroughly heated. Cook fully for 25 minutes. This dish can serve four to six people and is great with brown (the healthier option, of course) or white rice.



Sizzling Chili Pork Chops

6 (4 oz.) boneless loin pork chops, about 1/2-inch thick

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil

1/3 cup orange juice


2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Stir together chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and cumin in a small bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle a chili mixture evenly on both sides of each pork chop, rubbing the mixture into pork.  Heat one tablespoon of oil in a cast iron or an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Place pork chops in hot oil to brown, turning once after three to five minutes. Add a remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove your skillet from the burner and place it in a preheated oven. Bake pork chops 15 to 20 minutes or until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F.  Remove your chops and place on a serving platter. Let stand for three to five minutes before slicing. Add water to orange juice to measure 3/4 cup.  Return skillet to top of the stove. Stir flour into pan drippings, scraping brown bits from the bottom of skillet. Gradually stir in combined orange juice and water, cooking over low heat until the mixture thickens. Cook in full for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with pork chops. This pork-chop dish serves six people and is a winner with stone-ground grits, greens or fried corn.



Jerk Seasoned Pork Tenderloin

1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. pork tenderloin

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons finely chopped jalapeno pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

Stir together pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and thyme in a small bowl. Blend in remaining ingredients, mixing to form a paste. Place pork tenderloin in a resealable plastic bag; pour paste mixture over tenderloin. Press excess air out of a bag and seal it. Gently roll the tenderloin in a bag, coating it with the paste mixture. Marinate pork in the refrigerator, turning the bag over once for eight to 10 hours or overnight. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove your pork tenderloin from marinade and place it on a baking pan and roast uncovered in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. Roast 20 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature on a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F. Remove from oven and let the tenderloin rest 10 minutes before slicing. This dish serves six and tastes delicious when served with steamed cabbage, roasted sweet potatoes or some sauteed plantains. If you want it spicier, kick things up a notch by adding red pepper flakes to your marinade.

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