Good morning! It’s Friiiiiiiiday 🙂 What are you all up to this weekend? I have Girls on the Run training tomorrow morning (!!!) but otherwise, no real plans. Just fine with me!
To make up for my microwaved nachos on Wednesday night, I wanted to cook a nice homestyle meal last night. I had found a recipe for pork chops that I thought I’d try, and knew it would be a good meal. First though, a confession:
I’m pretty sure I’ve never eaten pork chops.
They’ve never looked appealing to me! I’ve never been a huge fan of barbecue-style, or barbecue sauce even, and the texture has always left me a little on edge.
(I’ve also never had spare ribs, but I’ll leave that for another post)
This blog is about getting out of my comfort zone though, so pork chops it is!
I also wanted a good, filling side, so when Jenna over at Eat, Live, Run posted the recipe for her mom’s Sweet and Spicy Baked Beans, I had to try it. I’ve also never been a baked bean fan but when I saw the ingredients, I wanted it.
Her original recipe serves 4-6 but with the weekend coming on, I didn’t want to waste any leftovers, so we halved it. If you’re feeding more than two people, I’d say the original recipe is best. I’m posting the original here:
2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinses
8 cups chopped kale (estimate!)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (she recommends Stubbs; I used Sweet Baby Ray’s!)
2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Kale! You’re my new bff. Our local grocery store has some great looking kale, but I really wanted organic. I finally found it at Whole Foods (as I posted yesterday), 2 bunches for $3!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute your onion until soft and clear, about 5 minutes. Add your garlic and saute for a minute or two more. Then add your kale and cook until semi-wilted, tossing frequently. Then add all the rest of your ingredients and mix completely.
Put your beans in a 9-inch casserole dish or pan and bake for 45 minutes. Then eat!
We added a bit more bbq sauce than the recipe called for, which is why ours turned out a bit more on the orange side. They still look great though 🙂
While the beans were baking, I made Pork Chops with Pear and Ginger Sauce. Ingredients included:
Four 4-ounce boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper to season the chops
2 tsp canola oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 firm, ripe pear (Bosc or Anjou), peeled and cut
1 inch long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut (I used ground)
6 scallions, trimmed and sliced into 1/2 inch lengths
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water
I picked up the pork chops at Whole Foods and discovered they use a local farm called Heritage Acres! I was glad that even though I got the meat at a big box store, I was still buying local. Next time though, I’m going to look at the farmer’s market and Township Grocer for even more local meats.
I’ve never really cooked with pears before. I’ve eaten them of course, but not in a very long time, and I’ve certainly never cooked with them. They added a nice sweetness! I chopped everything I needed before cooking anything.
First step: season and brown your chops in an oiled pan over medium-high heat. Also, here I’m showcasing my favorite ingredient, the white wine. Only $3.99 at your local Walgreen’s, hehe.
Once the chops are cooked through, set them aside (I covered them in foil to keep them warm), and drain the fat from the skillet. Then add your vinegar and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. You should have a nice amber color now. Pour in the wine (it splatters!), stirring and taking it down to a simmer. Add your broth, pears, and ginger, still stirring and simmering. Cook for five minutes, turning the pears occasionally. Add scallions and cook for a couple more minutes, until the pears are tender.
Add your cornstarch mixture. Supposedly, the sauce is supposed to lightly thicken. I didn’t notice much thickening, even after adding a bit more cornstarch. Not sure if I did something wrong?
With the heat on low, add your pork (with any accumulated juices) and turn to coat in the sauce. We let it sit for a few minutes to soak in the sauce.
Then, serve with the pears and sauce on top! I used a nice bed of kale for mine 🙂
All in all, a very filling, homey meal. We had a tiny bit of each leftover, so I took it for lunch today. The beans were fantastic! It’s funny how kale just kind of lends itself to everything. And while the texture of the pork chops was still a bit wonky to me, they were actually really tasty and something I wouldn’t mind eating again.
(Seriously, vegetarians, try these beans!)
For now, I’m chowing down lunch. I brought a bunch of things but can’t stop eating goat cheese, so that with some sesame crackers might do! I hope you all have a very wonderful Friday afternoon 🙂
Question: Is there an incredibly common food that you’ve just never eaten?