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Dish of the Week - De File
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Dish of the Week
I learned something useful last night. Although sweet potatoes come out best when slow-roasted in a conventional oven, they are surprisingly good when cooked in the microwave. They don't get quite as smoothly soft on the inside in the latter case, but the taste is excellent. And they cook in ten minutes or less.

The reason I made this discovery is that I decided sweet potatoes would be the perfect complement to a dish I was making, but didn't have time to put them in the oven for an hour. Now I will tell you about that dish. But I'm putting the particulars behind the cut because I don't want to offend those of you who avoid certain foods for religious or ethical reasons. So if you keep kosher or are a vegetarian, you may want to stop reading here.

Alright, then. I bought some boneless pork chops the other day at Safeway. Since my partner's transformation into a full-bore carnivore, I've been shopping there for discount meat, because their offerings are pretty good by supermarket standards and they steeply discount anything that has reached its sell-by date, even if it will be good eating for several days or more. Usually I look for steak, which my partner now likes and which ages well. This time, though, it was pork, which I picked up very cheap.

I find that fried or broiled pork chops get too dry for my taste, so I wanted to come up with an alternative method of preparation. Because I didn't feel like being beholden to a cookbook, this meant that I had to improvise. Time constraints also made it necessary for me to take several shortcuts during tonight's cooking. Anyway, here's what I came up with:
The Day Before You Cook
• Chop up spicy peppers -- I used five serraños -- and an onion
• Get out a large bowl and place the pork chops inside it
• Dump the pepper and onion mixture in the bowl and mix well with the porkchops
• Pour about 1/3 of a quart of buttermilk over top of the chops
• Add the equivalent of six to eight garlic cloves (I use the frozen cubes from Trader Joe's frequently)
• Slice about half a package of grapes -- thirty to forty -- grapes in half with a paring knife and add to the bowl
• Add about 1/3 of a quart of pumpkn or squash soup (I used Trader Joe's Butternut Apple, which comes in an aseptic box)
• Cover tightly and marinate for approximately 24 hours

The Day You Cook
• Make a pot of rice in advance, either over the stove or with a rice cooker
• Wash and slice four apples, leaving the skin on
• Simmer the apple slices in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil, taking care not to burn them
• Remove the pork chops from the marinade and place them in a colander to drain a bit, making sure to catch the liquid for later use
• Start broiling the pork chops, trying not to burn the edges, and turning them over once the outside looks done. Bear in mind that you are not trying to cook them all the way through
• Turn off the broiler and pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, setting the browned pork chops aside
• When the apple slices have softened and darkened in color, remove them from the frying pan and combine them with the marinade in an oven-safe casserole or similar pot that will be big enough to also fit the pork chops or two such pots if you don't have one that is big enough
• Add the pork chops to the pot or pots and put it in the oven for approximately a half hour
• While the pork dish cooks, prepare a green vegetable -- I used green beans -- to serve with them
• Cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave, turning them over periodically and testing them for doneness. The more you cook at once, the longer it will take, so plan accordingly: you want them to be hot when the pork dish comes out of the oven. They will be done when they give considerably to the touch and the skin has separated appreciably from the flesh in the thicker portion of each sweet potatoe
• Slit the sweet potatoes when they are done and add butter if you wish
• Ladle the pork chops, together with apple slices, grapes, and sauce over the rice
• Serve with the sweet potatoes and green beans
• Add salt and black pepper to taste
Mmmmmm. I'm hungry all over again. The pork chops came out very juicy and with an excellent sharp bite to them. And the apples were divine. I'm going to make this one again, though I may experiment further, as is my wont.

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14 comments or Leave a comment
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: November 14th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Mmmmmmmmmm... this sounds delicious. I'm going to try it this week sometime because i happen to have pork chops in the freezer.

I *love* that hugely discounted meat, particularly when it is steak and screaming "$3.00 OFF! BUY ME NOW!" I usually then rub the bejeebus out of it with ginger or black pepper or red pepper or garlic (or all of them!) and then mmmmmm that's all I want to eat forever and ever and ever.

Thanks for the recipe.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Why pay $50 for a 21-day aged steak when you get a marked-down one for 2/3 off at Safeway? :-)

Let me know how the dish turns out. I was very pleased. The serraños are key in my estimation.
masoo From: masoo Date: November 14th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
"I'm putting the particulars behind the cut because I don't want to offend those of you who avoid certain foods for religious or ethical reasons."

I perfectly understand not feeding people food that goes against their beliefs ... I have a vegetarian daughter, and a son and daughter-in-law who avoid pork. But I still talk about linguica in front of them.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I sort of like the idea of hiding the flesh "behind the cut." But I also know of people who don't even want to read about meat-eating.
From: hipsandquips Date: November 14th, 2006 04:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
im about to go cook some chicken thighs if i get my lazy ass out of bed. im so hungrrrry.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
And how will you prepare them?
From: hipsandquips Date: November 14th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
haha i just made 'em. they were delightful. i seasoned them with rosemary, garlic, some random herb rub i found and cooked they in a little shiraz (only red i had lying around). i'm so full.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The poor person's coq au vin. Mmmmm.
From: hipsandquips Date: November 14th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
haha i took a cell picture but i have to find it.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Post away. . .
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: November 14th, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yum! I never had too much familiarity with sweet potatoes until I made a sweet potato instead of pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving. So good! The recipe suggested that substituting yogurt for cream would cut the sweetness that usually turns me off more than the tiniest bite of pumpkin pie--and always turns me off those un-savory/super-sweet sweet potato dishes with marshmallows on top...

Resolution: I need to cook more pork.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sweet potatoes, apples, and pork go together like sweet potatoes, apples, and pork! But the added touch of besouring buttermilk and besharpening hot peppers improves markedly on what is already a very good thing indeed. Remember: it's the other meat not of color.
schencka From: schencka Date: November 14th, 2006 04:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for sharing the recipe! Brilliant.

How can one not eat meat? It's delicious!

T-bone steaks were on sale last week. I may be a po' grad student, but I ate high-quality steak four of the last seven days.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: November 14th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Nice! Iowa would love me. . . :-)
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