Another Summit Rounded

Southern-inspired recipes for pork: pork chops (finally!) and Ham and Cider Soup.

I shared a time ago that there are about half a dozen foods that I have tried to make over the years, but each attempt at cooking them resulted in a meal that fell short of my expectations. Then I gave you the best recipe for meatloaf, which I had finally conquered. Well, I am happy to share that I have done it again. I have come across a straight-forward recipe for pork chops that finally gives me a moist, simple, savory pork chop 9without a mound of mushy apples over top). Since pork is “the other white meat,” I am also happy to share that (unless you are a vegetarian or vegan), pork chops can be part of a healthy diet. Serve up your chops with a green salad or green veggie and a “starch” (like potatoes or rice) and you have an easy weeknight supper.

By the way, the chops don’t look like much, which is why there is no photograph, but they are good. Throw some parsley on top if you are looking to impress, visually.

BROILED OR GRILLED PORK CHOPS

  1. Either preheat your broiler to high and pull out a rimmed baking sheet, or oil your grill and preheat it.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon safflower oil, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon minced, fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon ground, if your husband happens to detest the texture of rosemary), 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and a fair pinch of salt. Whisk until emulsified (oil does not separate).
  3. Prepare 1 1/2-2 lbs medium-cut chops by trimming off most of the fat, patting dry, and seasoning with salt and pepper. Brush generously with mustard mixture on all sides.
  4. Place chops on pan and pan in oven, or place chops on grill. You will cook approximately 4 minutes per side, until the internal temp is over 145F (the inside will still be a little pink; if this concerns you, increase internal temp, but result will be drier and tougher). Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

And now–to keep with the Southern foods and pork theme–I’ll share a wonderful soup for the chilly, wet days that will stretch from September through November. My riff on this Southern gem (for one thing, I switched up champagne for a Northern obsession: apple cider) is a combination of salty and sweet and umami and sour that you don’t often find in American cuisine. I really enjoy it. It’s different enough to elicit surprise and perfect for eliciting praise. With crusty bread, it can be a complete meal, but it would also make a great starter for a feast.

2013-08-18 13.59.26HAM AND CIDER SOUP

  1. In a soup pot, heat a couple tablespoons safflower oil or leftover bacon grease. (For culinary reasons, I prefer the bacon grease from premium bacon, but I will understand if you think you ought to hate bacon grease if you want to live a long and prosperous life.) Saute 2 diced celery ribs and 1 diced onion until beginning to brown.
  2. Add 1 quart chicken (or ham) broth, 1 bay leaf, and 6 whole cloves. Bring to a boil and add 1 can drained butter beans and 2 peeled and fine-diced russet potatoes. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove bay leaf and all 6 cloves.
  3. Add 2 cups sparkling apple cider and cook until warmed through. Then stir in a couple cups fine-diced ham and 1/4 cup minced parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.
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