Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let Us Celebrate With Pork!

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If any of you read my other blog, you know that my fabulous husband Aaron has just started his new full-time job...long story short, he was laid off in May and it has been a rough almost-year struggling to patch together part-time per diem jobs...this new job is a huge answer to prayer. After I stopped freaking out from extreme excitement about the job, my next thought was, "what should I make to celebrate?"


It's official.

Cooking and food is my life.

Hope you're all ok with that because it is not going to be changing anytime soon!

So since his job has kind of funky hours, I couldn't cook a "special" meal when I wanted to, but I stuck to my original idea and cooked up a meal a little out of the ordinary and served it last night. We don't deviate often from turkey, chicken, fish, etc...for both monetary and health reasons, but this week I went for it. I bought PORK.

I adore pork. Chops, shredded, slow-cooked loin...any way I can eat it - bring it on...wrapped in bacon? Even better! I dialed down the insane pig-product love slightly to make this meal - it was absolutely delicious and the pan sauce with the apples and onions is a must, it completely brought the entire dish together - yum!

This is definitely a weekend-quality meal that you can whip together in about 30 minutes on a weeknight, it was a fabulous mouth is watering just remembering when we ate it last night...maybe I need to go hunt down some leftovers...

Pork Chops w/ Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes

- 1 pound potatoes (any type you like - I went with our standard russets)
- 2 cloves garlic (I added 3 - we looooove garlic around here!)
- Salt & Pepper
- 4 thick boneless pork chops (I used about 1/2 inch thick center cut chops)
- 2 tbsp. dried rubbed sage
- Olive oil
- 2 tbsp. cooking sherry
- 1 large onion (cut into small wedges)
- 2 granny smith apples (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
- 1 cup apple juice (cider would be great here if you have it on hand!)
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (heated - this is for the potatoes)


Chop your potatoes into about 1" pieces, peel and smash your garlic cloves. Add them to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Season generously with salt (think briny here!), cover and bring to a boil - then uncover and continue cooking until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes. I leave the skins on the potatoes, just because we like to eat them that way, but feel free to peel 'em if you aren't a skin person.

2. While your potatoes are cooking, heat a large skillet over high heat - you are going to be searing your chops, so it needs to be nice and hot! Rub both sides of the chops with the sage, salt and pepper. Add about a tbsp. of olive oil to the hot pan, swirl it around and lay your chops in the pan.

3. Sear the chops until a crust forms and they start to brown around the edges - about 5 minutes total. Remove the chops from the pan and set them aside. Add about another tbsp. olive oil to the pan along with your onion, apples, juice or cider, sherry and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook until soft, then add the chops back into the pan.

4. Eyeball the sauce and add in more juice and sherry if you need it. You want to make sure the chops stay nice and moist and you make a flavorful sauce. Cover and cook the chops (turning once) until just cooked through - about 5-6 minutes. In the meantime, drain your potatoes and add in the hot buttermilk, salt and pepper, mashing roughly with a potato masher or a fork.

5. Once your chops are done, remove them from the pan, cover with aluminum foil and let them rest. Season the apples and onion with salt and pepper, then remove from heat. Serve everything up together and enjoy!

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