Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Other White Meat

I don't generally dig on swine. Don't look at me like that, all "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BACON PROM, BLAINE?" I don't think I need to tell you I love bacon, because so do you. Bacon tastes gooood.

Bacon is its own food group in my book, so it is exempt from my "Pork? Meh." attitude. Because: Pork? Meh. I think pork loins are far too expensive for what they are, the texture of ham oogs me out like you wouldn't believe, and often I just find the whole pork experience a little... gamey.

What I was really aiming for, anyway, was a cranberry delivery device. Cranberry and turkey together are done to death over the winter holidays, and early April is just too soon thereafter, as far as I'm concerned. But I really wanted cranberry, and it seemed like pork would bear the cranberry tang well, so:

Pork Chops with Red Wine Cranberry Sauce*

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  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 small onion (to be minced)
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup red wine (shiraz, in this case)
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 2 T buttah, divided
  • granulated garlic
  • salt and pepper
  • asparagus
Yeah, that's refrigerated mashed potato in the background. Don't judge.

Asparagus Directions

Preheat oven to 400. Wash, trim, and dry the asparagus, then lay it out flat on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with about a tablespoon of olive oil, roll it around to coat, then season with salt, pepper, and a little granulated garlic. Stick it in the oven for 10 minutes, or however long it takes to roast to how you like it. I like mine to be pretty crunchy.

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Red Wine Cranberry Sauce Directions

Dice, mince, or otherwise disassemble the onion into small pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil, and then cook your onions until they are soft, translucent, and smelly in a good way rather than smelly in the offend-your-eyes way. Add the wine, broth, cranberry, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Boil this until it reduces to the consistency you like. Some rosemary might be nice, here, but I didn't have any, so whatever.

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Pork Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick pan. Salt and pepper your chops, then arrange them in the pan so they are all lying flat. Honestly, would you just leave them alone? You don't need to wiggle them around all the time, press down on them, or poke/prod/flip and re-flip. Just let them be while they form a nice caramelized crust for about 5 minutes or so, and then flip them over for another 5 (I like to see 145 degrees on the instant thermometer in the thickest part of the chop). Take the chops out of the pan to rest for a good ten minutes. Be patient. No cutting until the chops have rested!

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While the chops were resting, I microwaved the potatoes. Because really, if I can avoid peeling, boiling, and mashing potatoes? You bet your sweet potatoes I will.

Here's the final product, on the plate:

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CJ refused the sauce, but did "gag down" four whole pieces of asparagus (due in large part to me telling him it would make his pee smell funny (he is a 12 year old boy, after all) and by reminding him that I still hadn't made up my mind about whether or not I would let him go to a pool party at a girl's house. And since we're now on the topic of my 12 year old son being invited to a pool party at a girl's house, can I just say: oh! em! eff! gee!).

*It is my sincere hope that any mention of "cranberry sauce" will evoke memories of the childhood "cranberry sauce song" earworm for my paternal cousins. More cranberry saaaaaaaaaaaaauce!