Monday, May 3, 2010

Pan-Roasted Pork Chop with Sauteed Spinach and Roasted Potatoes

Here's an easy pork chop recipe that may take some time to prepare but is quite painless to put together. First of all, remember the mantra: Brine! Yes, so as not to dry out the cut of pork as we cook it all the way through, brining it in a solution of water, red wine, salt, sugar and brining spices is the best solution. The duration of brining depends solely on how thick the cut of meat is, usually between a couple of hours for the thinnest cuts to 24 hours for the really thick ones.

OK, now that we have the pork in brine, let's get the other side dishes ready for cooking. First, the roasted potatoes. I like to use Yukon Golds for my potato needs and for this application, I cut them into a medium dice. Coat them in oil, salt, pepper, fresh chopped rosemary, thyme and garlic and onion powder, put them on a sheet tray and start roasting at 350F. I like to roast the potatoes nice and slow so as not to dry them out quickly.

Next is the spinach, which can be cooked just before serving as it wilts very quickly and takes very little time to cook. To prep, wash the spinach leaves thoroughly, making sure to get all the dirt and grit off. They are to be sauteed with onions, garlic, grape tomatoes and button mushrooms. So you can go ahead and prep those ingredients.

When the pork is ready, wash it under running water to remove the brining solution. Pat it fry with a paper towel and sprinkle it with any of the McCormick Grill Mates seasoning (my preference is for the Spicy Montreal Steak Seasoning). Get an oven-safe pan nice and hot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Lay the pork chop down slowly on the pan (be careful not to splash hot oil on yourself) and cook both sides until somewhat brown. Remove the pan from the stove and put it into the oven at 350F. By now, the potatoes should be ready. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese onto the roasted potatoes and mix thoroughly. Taste and season the potatoes again appropriately. If salt is needed, add a little soy sauce instead. Believe me, this adds a new taste dimension to roasted potatoes.

So while the pork chops are finishing in the oven, let's get the spinach cooking. Start off by sauteeing the onions until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the sliced button mushrooms and grape tomatoes. Before adding the spinach, add a tablespoon of white wine, salt and pepper to taste. Finally, the spinach can go into the pan. If it is too hard to move the big batch of spinach around the pan, I suggest covering the pan for a minute or two. This should wilt the spinach in no time, making it easier to thoroughly saute all the ingredients.

And there you go, a lovely meal of pan-roasted pork chops with roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach.

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