Monday, August 24, 2009

Finally, dinner

I'm going to try to attempt more meal planning, even though technically I'll only be making about two-three meals a week! But it will help with eating more healthfully.

Since this week's Ingredient Challenge is Parmesan cheese, I decided to make a risotto when doing my planning on Sunday night. Of course, when I tried to search, no one makes a plain risotto anymore (I could hear the internet scoffing at me), so I went back to the basics - Pioneer Woman's Risotto. You can visit her for the recipe, since it's pretty simple, and I made a few adjustments - I used olive oil, garlic, shallots, a cup of arborio rice, a half cup white wine (the bottle was open and sitting right in front of me), chicken broth, a bit of 1% milk, and of course, my giant hunk of Parmesan cheese.

For the main course, hubs had requested pork chops since we had pork loin chops in the freezer, and we're trying to use what we have before buying more. I have been wanting to break in my new boobs Giada book for some time now, and this was the perfect chance. Whenever I get a new, relatively small book, I go through and post-it mark the recipes I want to make. Unfortunately, I didn't have any of the pork chop ones marked in this book! But I have to start branching out, so I picked one anyway: Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce.

Pork Chops with Fennel and Caper Sauce

¼ cup olive oil
4 boneless (2-inch-thick) pork chops (about 2 pounds total)
¾ teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning meat
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning meat
2 fennel bulbs with fronds, thinly sliced (about 8 ounces or 2 cups)
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1/3 cup
½ cup white wine
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
½ lemon, zested
2 tablespoons capers

changes: I used one fennel bulb, and completely forgot about the fronds; also omitted the parsley since it didn't look great at the store this week.

In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil over high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add the pork to the pan and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes each side. Remove the pork from the pan, cover loosely with foil, and set aside.
Add the fennel, shallots, and 1/3 cup parsley to the pan and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes and stir. Add the pork back into the pan, nestling the chops between the fennel and tomatoes so they are mostly submerged in the pan juices. Cook until the fennel is tender and the pork is done, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Place the pork on a serving dish. To finish the sauce, add the lemon zest, remaining 1/3 cup parsley, capers, and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Spoon over the pork chops and serve immediately.

This was fantastic!! I'm so glad I branched out. I even ate some of the sauce - those in my family know I'm not a huge fan of anything resembling an onion or of cooked tomatoes, but these ones were so flavorful. It almost reminded me of a chicken cacciatore sauce, which I'm now also wanting to make.

The risotto was great too, I halved the recipe but used a little more than a cup of my Parmesan (not the cat's meow to grate, FYI) so it was very cheesy.

Sorry for the awful picture, hubs was ready to eat and making fun of me (he even got my brother involved in the mockery) and I didn't have time to find good lighting so was forced to use the flash:


No comments: