Sunday, January 16, 2011
January 16: Dinner
The title may be misleading. I didn't cook a potpourri of pork, but a pork dish with a potpourri of other ingredients. Hell, I may be using the word potpourri completely improperly. Feel free to comment with a correction if it bugs you.
As I did earlier in the week, I chose another one-dish dinner from Giada de Laurentiis’ cookbook, Giada’s Kitchen. Since pork chops were on sale this week and I adore them, I chose this recipe of pork chops with fennel and caper sauce. It looked light and delicious, as well as a nice incorporation of some of my favorite dishes.
I immediately varied from the recipe by using bone-in pork chops instead of boneless, as the recipe suggested, because I bought what was on sale at my grocery store. I also cut the recipe in half. Sue me. Everything else I tried to do as suggested.
Basics: Cooked seasoned pork chops (salt and pepper) for four minutes per side in a hot, olive-oiled pan, then removed and covered. Added sliced fennel, shallot, and parsley to the pan, cooked for about five minutes, then deglazed the pan with white wine. Stirred in can of diced tomatoes with juice, put chops back in the pan, cooked on medium heat about 15 minutes. After removing pork, added capers, lemon zest, and more parsley to the mixture, then spooned over chops.
After cooking yet another dish that resulted in cooked yet unbrowned meat, I’ve determined that I’m not heating the pan thoroughly enough before adding meat. I’m not sure where the fear of burning down my kitchen comes from, but I need to realize that heating the pan will likely not start a fire if I’m watching over it. But being too anxious prompts me to add the meat too early and stare at it while it cooks…but doesn’t brown. Thus, my pork chops doesn’t look like pictures of browned pork chops. Heavy sigh for the presentation fail.
It was the taste I sought - light but filling with a lovely blend of flavors. The capers at the end provided the perfect zing, and the tomatoes worked well with the fennel. With the exception of the browning letdown, the dish was quite good. It was easy to prepare and the perfect size portion for one dinner and another leftover meal.
After trying fennel for the first time last year, my adoration for it grows with each use. It’s easier to prepare than I ever thought it would be, doesn’t scream of a licorice taste, and it pairs well with meat or pasta. Go fennel!