28 October 2010

Double Take: Tuscan Pork Chops

I’m always on the lookout for a new pork chop recipe because, well, pork chops, when cooked properly, can be very tasty. It’s easy enough to sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and grill or sauté them, but occasionally I like to change things up a bit.

When Tabitha suggested this recipe for Tuscan Pork Chops (p. 314), I had my doubts. I had put it on the list of “I will eat it, but Bender* will not.” But it was time to make something from that list since we hadn’t yet. The reasons Bender would eat it: balsamic vinegar and capers. If there is one thing that Bender doesn’t like, it’s vinegar… which means he also doesn’t like anything that has been pickled… like, say, capers. I checked to see if the recipe was online, and nicely, it was AND it had several reviews. I checked out what others had said and came to one conclusion: I could not use 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar and expect Bender to like it. But I did notice that several people had suggested subbing your favorite wine. I agreed to make the recipe provided I could make such a substitution. Of course, Tabitha’s always happy to allow substitutions, so we decided to make this recipe.

Since I was slightly wary about how Bender would react to this recipe, I made sure to make something I knew he would like on the side, and as it turns out, we posted it last week! But it did slightly complicate what I was making, so my pork sat neglected for about 20 minutes while I worked on the Golden Macaroni and Cheese (p. 334). I had already dredged it in flour before I thought to make the pasta, so by the time I got back to the pork, the flour had been completely absorbed. So, I dredged the pork again and threw it in the pan (well, gently placed it in the pan). But other than that and the wine, I stuck to the recipe.

Ready to simmer.

Tuscan Pork Chops
from the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, also available here

1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
1  teaspoon  salt
3/4  teaspoon  seasoned pepper (I used a mix of pepper and garlic powder)
4  (1-inch-thick) boneless pork chops
1  tablespoon  olive oil
3  to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3  cup  balsamic vinegar (or your favorite dry red wine)
1/3  cup  chicken broth
3  plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
2  tablespoons  capers
Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish; dredge pork chops in flour mixture.

Cook pork chops in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove chops from skillet.

Add garlic to skillet, and sauté 1 minute. Add vinegar and broth, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; stir in tomatoes and capers (I opted to serve the capers at the table on the side).

Return pork chops to skillet; bring sauce to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until pork is done. Serve pork chops with tomato mixture. Garnish, if desired.

Tender pork chops ready for your belly.

I was grateful I switched the balsamic vinegar to wine. The amount of wine in the recipe seemed like it was a little much. At first. The pork itself did not absorb much of the flavor, but rather the flour coating it had all of the wine flavor. The pork was nice and moist and tender, not dry at all. But it didn’t sing. There was nothing special about it. Because I had floured it twice, the flour just seemed to fall off the pork and did not add anything to the dish. It might have been better if I had floured it only once, but as it was, the ingredient seemed totally unnecessary since it soaked in the wine for so long (it also failed to help thicken the sauce). As far as the tomato and wine sauce, Bender actually ate it! But he didn’t particularly love it. I was a little disappointed in the sauce at first bite, but the more I ate of it, the more I liked it. At the end of the meal, I actually finished it all rather than saving it with the leftover pork chop! So, yes, the sauce is quite tasty.

I told you you'd get to see the whole plate this week! Yay for Golden Macaroni and Cheese! 

Not-worth-making-again: 1 vote
Sorry-other-voter-but-I-might-making-this-recipe-again: 1 vote

For Tabitha's take on Tuscan Pork Chops, head on over to Double the Garlic

*In honor of our anniversary (4 years the day this post went up!) and Hubby's reaction to Tabitha's code name for him, Hubby is now Bender. :)

1 comment:

  1. I find it somewhat hilarious that we both ate exactly the same things with this dish.


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