Monday, March 5, 2012

Pork Chops and Rice? Or More!

Our local grocery store had the little thin cut pork chops on sale....and I mean on SALE! Thus far, the only thing I've used them for is German schnitzels. After a while, even those get tired. After a long while, mind you.

So, with the herbs, spices and a couple of pantry staples I had on hand I came up with:

Lemon Artichoke Smothered Pork Chop with Asparagus Pilaf

Making a great meal is 99% marketing! Sell it to your family, your friends and most importantly to yourself! It's not pork chops and rice...again. It's something fantastic and new! Not only should it sound good, but it should look good too! Even if it is a plate for one, a pretty plate is more satisfying! (Bonus: the more satisfied you are with your meal, the less likely you are to scavenge the pantry for junk food later!)

I like to get a really good sear on meat (brown is FLAVOR!) but hate when the oil or butter burns. The solution? I oil the meat itself, not the pan!

For the porkchops, I made a rub of:

Vegetable Oil (maybe 3 Tbs)
Sesame Oil (1 tsp)
and a spice blend of
 Granulated Garlic 
 Caraway Seed
 Ground Red Pepper
 Celery Seed
 Dried Thyme
 Clove (VERY little!)

How do I decide what spices and herbs to use? I smell them! What smells good together usually tastes good together! I had oriental in mind and these ingredients smelled like a good oriental stir fry. 

Next, I heated a dry frying pan to medium high and sauteed the porkchops for 3 minutes per side, or so. 

*****Let it rest! Once you take meat out of the pan, oven or off the grill, it is JUICY! Keep it in! Letting it rest a little bit (say just cool enough to touch it for a few seconds comfortably) will redistribute all the juice and ensure it stays delicious!

For a pan sauce I added a splash of white wine to the saute pan after I took the porkchops out, a squeeze of lemon, a little pat of butter and some minced garlic. Mixed in some chopped artichoke hearts and stirred until it was heated through. Voila!

The Asparagus Pilaf? Oh, just a box of flavored rice mix with minced garlic, a squeeze of lemon and chopped asparagus added in the last few minutes! Adding one or two little extras to a mix makes a huge difference!

What kind of herb/spice combinations work for you? And how do you jazz up side dish mixes?


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