Recently I made a fine pork chop. I ruled them out lately in favor of my current run on slow cooked tenderloin, to which I will admit, I have become quite addicted. I have made my share of dried-out pork chops for sure, but even when they are treated to a little spa time in a fancy brine and cooked just right, the pork chop just isn’t my favorite cut of meat, truth be told. I am sometimes intrigued when I see it listed on a menu with a luring description but with so many other things to try, when it comes time to pull the trigger, I end up with several types of fish, another small plate or two, and I rarely pass on the duck. If I am dining with my father, it is a pretty good bet that the pork chop will end up on his list, thick cut, double big or whichever way it is presented. This after eating a very large bowl of mussels, himself of course (I mustn’t even think of reaching into the bowl to fish one out for myself as I might be inclined to do). He takes his mussels seriously, but as far back as I can remember, my father loves pork!
Every time I make pork, I think of Dad. I am not really sure why this is, because more importantly, he loves chicken fried steak and banana cream pie! Once we stopped in for a sweet snack to replenish during an afternoon of shopping. Dad ordered banana cream pie as I knew he would. When the waitress informed him that they were out, he bit his lower lip and let out a groan of disappointment as if he had been anticipating it all day. He then lifted his head, looked up at the waitress and without skipping a beat said, “Okay, I’ll take the chicken fried steak instead”.
PORK CHOPS, BRAISED CABBAGE and CARROTS – serves 2, but can be easily doubled.
This meal is a good one to do during the week when time and energy are limited because it goes together easily. It is also equally suited for company because in addition to the aforementioned, it has the added bonus of being elegantly delicious too!
For the pork:
2 thick cut pork chops – rinsed and wiped dry
3 TB soy sauce (low sodium is ok)
2 TB fresh orange juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
(Above measurements are approximate – erring on the side of more or less won’t hurt. I don’t measure it out, rather I pour from the bottle, judging with my eyeballs and instinct)
1 sprig fresh tarragon
Olive oil for sautéing
Optional – 5 to 7 baby fingerling potatoes per person, par-boiled (put in saucepan covered with water and salt – bring just to a boil and drain)
For the cabbage:
Olive oil for sautéing
1 medium-sized cipollini onion – peeled and sliced, slices cut in half
2 cups (approx) sliced red cabbage, core removed
1 or 2 large carrots – shaved using a peeler (you will have about 1 cup of carrot ribbons)
1 TB (approx) apple cider vinegar
1 tsp (approx) sugar
1/2 tsp (approx) salt
2 TB chopped tarragon
In a shallow bowl, COMBINE the soy sauce, juice and 1 tsp of the vinegar. ADD the chops and turn coating both sides. COVER BOWL and let sit at room temp while you prepare the cabbage.
GATHER the rest of the ingredients listed above.
TURN THE OVEN to 400 degrees, TOSS the potatoes in a wee bit of oil and ROAST for 5-7 minutes. They will be finished in the pan with the cabbage.
HEAT a sauté pan and ADD olive oil, just enough to coat the pan, 1 TB or so. When it is hot enough to move freely when tilting the pan, ADD the onion, cabbage and carrots. STIR a few minutes to soften the vegetables then ADD the vinegar, sprinkle with sugar,salt and tarragon, STIR to combine.