Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mustard-dill Pork Chops and Green Beans

I often try to plan ahead when I think I'm going to have enough free time to make a good meal. Case in point, the other day I thought I was going to be home from work before 8pm, so I wanted something quick but delicious because I knew I could have something ready before 9 o'clock.  Before leaving for work, I scanned the options that I had in the freezer.

The sausage was already earmarked for something special.
I'd been eating chicken thighs quite a bit recently.
Fish sticks were fast, but not fancy enough.

Then I noticed a bag with two pork chops, each about 1/3" thick. That was going to be the perfect protein to make a quick an easy dinner. I took them out, popped the bag in a bowl and set it in the refrigerator to thaw while I was at work.

Sadly, I did not get home that evening until late.  Like, 9:30 late. I was certainly in no mood to make anything too involved, so the pork chops were left in the fridge overnight. Luckily, the next morning I was hungry and I didn't have to be to work until 1:30. This was when I decided that lunch would be my fancy meal of the day. (Also, I wasn't scheduled to get home until after 10 that night anyway).

So here I was... searching for pork recipes at 7:30 in the morning on a random weekday.

First, I looked at this recipe. While it looks simple at first, it requires the triple-dredging technique to make the pork crispy.

I love crispy.

I love crispy long time.
What I don't love is messing up three different plates with flour, egg wash and bread crumbs... particularly when making lunch. So I scrapped that and kept searching.

The next recipe instead opted for a quick 20 minute marinade. This sounded like a great idea to me as it fit into my schedule and required very little cleanup. My problem with this one, however, was that I didn't have anything that could even remotely substitute for white balsamic vinegar. (When I finally settle down as the house-husband for some wealthy ex-playboy, I will keep things like white balsamic in my pantry.)

The light went on when I realized that when trying to re-create this technique with the ingredients I had on hand, I was essentially turning one of my favorite pan sauces into a marinade... and that's when it all came together.

2 boneless pork chops (I don't remember exactly what cut these were from. They were cheap and pretty in the meat case at the grocery store.)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 large or 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced fine
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp dried dill
1 cup chicken broth/stock
1 tbsp salted butter
1/2 chopped medium yellow onion, minced
1 big handful of green beans, ends trimmed
salt and dried dill to taste

Place the pork chops in a bag (or in my case, open the ziploc bag they were stored and defrosted in). Pour in the vinegar, garlic, mustard, honey, vegetable oil and dill. Close the bag and massage the goopy mess together with the pork until the marinade emulsifies and starts to look like a delicious salad dressing. Set that aside for 20 minutes. (You can use this time to chop the onions, clean the beans, measure the chicken stock, etc.)

Once your 20 minutes is up, pull the pork out of the bag. Using your fingers, strip the marinade off as best you can. (Save that marinade!)

Heat a NON-STICK skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes and place the pork into the dry skillet. Allow the meat to brown on one side for 5 full minutes. (Any marinade still sticking to the pork will burn, but don't worry.) Flip the pork and allow to cook on the second side for another 3 minutes.

Pull out the pork and set aside, covered. They won't be cooked through at this point... don't worry.

In the future I may try fiddling with the burnt marinade in the bottom of the pan, but since I didn't have much time, I just cleaned out the pan and returned it to the medium heat. Melt the butter when it stops foaming, add the onions. Cook them for 2-3 minutes and then pour in the marinade.

Once the onions and marinade start bubbling away, add in the chicken broth/stock, the pork chops, the green beans and crank up the heat to medium-high.

Bring everything to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 8 minutes. (Taste one of the green beans at this point to see if they're done. If they're still too crunchy, cover again and cook until they reach your desired doneness). Remove the pork and beans to your serving dish (in my case, directly to the plate). Crank up the heat again and boil the sauce until it reduces and turns a caramel color.

Taste the sauce to see if you need to add any salt (I didn't need to). Spoon the sauce over the pork and the green beans and enjoy!

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