While dog sitting last weekend, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful, bright kitchen that was in the house. As you probably know, the kitchen at my house is dark, old, and completely lacking any natural light, making my photos very…blegh. I also bought a new macro lens and am so excited to start bringing you higher quality photos on this site (hopefully).
I wanted to christen the new lens with a dish worthy of being photographed. This dish is hearty and full of earthy flavors. It’s sweet and salty, soft and crunchy, and has an easy yet impressive presentation. Enjoy!
Start with heavily salt and peppering your pork chops and heating up your pan or grill. I bought French-cut pork chops because they still have the bone in them which helps keep the moisture in and it looks lovely in the presentation. You can either French them yourself, ask the butcher to do it, or just use regular pork chops!
You want your pan to be smoking hot before adding your canola or vegetable oil. Drizzle a little of the oil in, swish it around, and carefully drop the chops in away from you. It will pop, so watch out. Also, only turn the chops once! Leave it alone when you put it in and after you flip it. That will allow the chop to develop a crispy caramelization on the outside. Let the chops while you get your veggies ready.
I’ll be explaining this recipe with two serving sizes since that’s what I cooked. One medium-large sweet potato will comfortably serve two people. Whether you want to microwave the potato, bake it, or saute it is up to you. I recommend peeling, chopping, and boiling them but any cooking method you prefer is totally fine.
Grab a 1/2 package of mushrooms (I used shitake because I’ve never bought them but you can use portobellos), 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, 1/2 apple, and 1/2 onion.
Chop the mushrooms, apple, and onion.
Throw in the hot, oiled saute pan you cooked your pork in with a big pinch of salt. Keep all the nibbly bits from the pork. That’s the good stuff.
Cook until your ingredients start to caramelize. At this point add your chopped garlic. Since the pieces are so small you wouldn’t want to add them till your apples, etc. are almost done.
When your garlic is golden brown, you’ll want to deglaze the pan with some kind of liquid. You have a lot of options here. I would recommend about 1/2 c. beef or chicken stock with about 1/2 cup of white wine. You could use water+bouillon, red wine, sherry, or if worse comes to worse, just water. Let this pan reduce on medium high heat until it is thick enough to coat a spoon. How long you let it reduce depends on how thick you want it. If it’s runny, just let it keep reducing!
While that’s reducing, your potatoes should be done. Add a big spoonful of Greek yogurt and spices. You can add cream and butter if you prefer, but I like this healthier option just fine. As far as spices go, add what you like! If you’re not sure where to start, go with salt, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamon. OR just a few shakes of apple or pumpkin pie spice and call it a day.
Plate the dish with a big scoop of sweet potato mash on the bottom. Lay the chop on the top at as angle. Top with the apple mushroom mixture. The final touch which really brings an element of elegance, freshness and color is the pea shoots. You can use any kind of green garnish including fried sage leaves or just leave them out all together if you really don’t care or are on a tight budget.
This new lens and I are going to get along just fine.
- Pork chop – $2.25
- 1/4 apple – $.20
- 1/4 onion – $.22
- 1/4 package mushrooms – $.68 (this is the price for cremini mushrooms, a good way to lower the cost)
- 1/2 sweet potato – $.55
- Total for 1 serving: ~$3.90
This recipe is slightly more expensive than most of my recipes but I just Googled this type of dish served in restaurants and I found 3 ranging from $17-$30 per plate. And you’d spend more at Taco Hell for a meal so it’s really not that bad.