Friday night’s dinner often requires little thought as it often consists of homemade pizza – not much to think about: make the dough, let rise 45 minutes, flatten, spread some toppings (variations are endless). Bake for 15 minutes. Meanwhile mix a salad, set the table and voila!
Thursday night is sometimes a little more complex: it’s not yet the week-end, and we are still caught up in the week’s activities. Stir-fries and sautéing then come to the rescue, especially if one has thought of taking some meat or chicken out of the freezer the night before. Then all that’s left to do is to take a quick inventory of what’s around in terms of vegetables and throw something together using those classic techniques. Varieties is provided by the vegetables and the spices.
Tonight was such a night. Pork chops (from a local farm, of course) were thawed, we have plenty of home-grown potatoes in the storage area and the peppers and tomatillos picked before the frost, while still perfectly good, need to be used. Impromptu Pork Chops with Chunky Pepper Tomatillo Sauce was forming a picture in my mind. Less than 30 minutes later dinner was ready. The recipe makes dinner for two – but is extremely easy to double or triple. You just need another pan for the extra chops.
Pork Chops with Chunky Pepper Tomatillo Sauce
2 large potatoes, washed
For the vegetables:
- 2 handful of ripe (i.e. yellow) tomatillos, dehusked
- 2 bell peppers
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove, degermed and minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- Salt to taste
For the pork chops:
- 1 or 2 tablespoons oil, depending on pan size
- 2 pork chops with bones, about ½ inch thick
- 1 few sprigs of thyme
- Salt & peppers.
- Cut up potatoes in 1 inch chunk. Boil until easily pierced – about 15 minutes from the time the water comes to boil. Drain when cooked.
- halve or quarter the tomatillos, depending on size.
- chop the onion.
- chop the peppers.
- In large skillet, heat up 2 tablespoons oil. Add all three vegetables separately (i.e. mot mixing them), giving them each about 1/3 of the pan. Salt. Add cumin. Cook the vegetables stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, but not mixing them up, until onions are translucent – about 15 to 20 minutes.. Then add garlic, and mix the vegetables together. Lower heat and keep simmering until time to spoon over the meat.
- While the vegetables are cooking, heat up on medium-high heat another skillet large enough to hold the pork chops. Add oil. Carefully add the pork chops. Run your fingers along the stems of the thyme sprigs to remove the leaves, and add the leaves to the pan. Salt & pepper the chops as they cook. Fry on one side about 5-8 minutes. Flip over and cook another 5 to 8 minutes depending on size (or until a meat thermometer registers 145F if you are more comfortable using that).
- Set aside and keep warm (maybe in a preheated 200 F oven), or cover with foil. If you are using the oven, slide two dinner plates in there to warm them.
- Add a little oil to the pan where the pork just cooked. Carefully add the sliced cook potatoes. Salt & Pepper. Cook until pleasantly colored. Using spatula, turn slices over, scraping browned bits from the pan, and brown the other side of the potato slices.
- Arrange the pork chops on the warmed plates. Spoon the sauce over and on the side. Add the sautéed potatoes.
Serve with a glass of chilled rose.
Note: The tomatillos were ripe, i.e. yellow, and were both sweet and sour – a very nice complement to the pork. Green tomatillos, while useable in the dish, would not have that rich sweet/sour taste.
Note for the LocavoreLog. Potatoes, tomatillos, peppers & thyme from the garden. Pork, immediately local.