Monday, October 27, 2008

The other white meat

So I've started to branch out. I'm not a beef girl, and I can say quite truthfully that in the 9 1/2 years we've been married, I've never cooked beef. Up until a year or so ago, I hadn't cooked pork other than bacon or sausage either, but I'm finding that I like a good boneless roast every now and then. My kids love it too. Any time I make it, it's bound to get rave reviews from the peanut gallery. I happened to buy a tray of several boneless pork chops at Sam's Club a few weeks ago and wasn't really sure what to do with them. I improvised. It came out pretty darn good. Slightly overcooked since Alan got home a half an hour late and my baby was screaming at the top of her lungs because of her sore ears, but that's easy enough to overcome. If I hadn't had said screaming baby attached to my hip at serving time, I would have loosened up the pan drippings with a bit of apple juice to serve over the meat as a sauce. Then it would have been perfect. I did serve cinnamon apples on the side, which are not pictured, and they were a great accompaniment. Use your imagination and follow the recipe. First, I lightly rubbed the inside of my dutch oven with vegetable oil and turned my oven on to 325 to preheat. Next, chop up the following veggies and make the yummy marinade.

1 large yam, peeled and cut into chunks
5-6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch long chunks
5-6 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled

3 T. apple cider vinegar
3 T. honey
2 T. brown sugar
3 T. oil (olive or vegetable)
several grinds each of sea salt and pepper

Pour about 3/4 of the marinade over the veggies and toss them to coat. Scooch the veggies into a ring to make a nice little spot in the middle for two boneless pork chops. The ones I used were just over an inch thick. Lay them down and pour the remaining marinade over the top. Lay a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme on top of it all and shut the lid.

Looks so artistic, doesn't it? Mmm, dinner. Bake for 70-90 minutes, then flip the chops over so that they can caramelize on the bottom and bake for another 15 or so minutes. I took the cover off for the last part of cooking, and I think that was a mistake. It would have retained moisture better if I'd left it covered. While your chops are finishing up, slice two large apples thinly. I used Jonagolds, one of my favorite apples. Melt 2 T. of butter in a large nonstick skillet, add 2 T. brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, and stir in the apples. Simmer them over medium low heat until they are nice and soft
The finished product. All the parts of the veggies that were against the bottom had a lovely caramelized finish - my very favorite part. Like I said at the beginning, the apples on the side were perfect, and using a 1/3 cup or so of apple juice to loosen up the yummy bits on the bottom (after you take the veggies and meat out) would be a great sauce to finish this off. Next time! The chops were tender (one of my big complaints with prior experiences with pork and beef), and we wound up butterflying the chops to split between all of us. We're not huge meat eaters, so the portion sizes suit us well. The kids were happy and so was Alan. Two thumbs up from us.

No comments: