So rarely do P and I eat a meal where the meat is just.. meat. Not a minor component to the meal, but the main attraction. But today we had some lovely, thin, bone-in pork chops that had a really good amount of fat left on them, and I decided to braise them.
The first time I was in college, I was beyond broke; living exclusively on a small amount of financial aid in a one-bedroom ghetto apartment that contained two people aside from myself. My tv was given to me by a neighbour who was throwing it away. It still had dials for the channels, and this was in the later 90s. Same with my melmac dishes - a hand-me-down (I wish I still had those dishes). Someone gave me a dinner table, and some chairs. My neighbours were really quite generous to me. My microwave was given to me, and I think my entire living room set was battered, but a great deal at a hundred bucks. I had to save up for it.
I ate "salads" comprised of 2-3 leaves of torn up romaine with a teaspoon of white vinegar, the juice of 1/8th of a lemon and a healthy dose of lemon pepper. I ate lentils, tiny cubes of a potato and split peas boiled together. I'd buy 19 cent boxes of Janet Lee macaroni and cheese, because the pasta was cheaper than buying a bag. I'd just toss the cheese packet or give it to someone else. For spices, I usually went to Pic'n'Save and bought spice bottles that were 2 for a dollar, or sometimes 4 for a dollar. As staple spices, I had salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, paprika, seasoned salt, cayenne, italian spices and... that's it. My splurge was lemon pepper. I ate... well, I ate cheaply. More than I do now, by far.
Sometimes my neighbours would be in my apartment when I got home, with food for me. I'd sit and advise them on how to fix their problems, or I'd watch their kids while they made and/or sold drugs, in exchange. I figured it was better for the kids, anyway, particularly given my advice was never taken.
Occasionally, I'd get a crappy piece of beef, or a pork chop when they were either deeply discounted at the store due to a sale, or due to being nearly past their "eat by" date. I always used to braise them. When I couldn't afford alcohol to cook the meat in, I'd get some from a neighbour. More babysitting; more counseling. I was so happy back then, though. Despite the high level of drama surrounding me, my life was interesting and exciting in a way I'm glad it isn't now. I never would trade those experiences, though. Now, eating pork cooked like this always makes me smile with reminiscence and nostalgia.
So I'm sharing this recipe with you now. The potatoes are a new addition, to reflect the fact that groceries are not something I struggle to come by anymore (that's the upside of working while in school!). I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
A note: most of the ingredients in the pork chops are "a little of this" or "a splash of that." It's intended that you just put as much or as little as you want. If you don't like a component, take it out. If you'd like to see another in there, put it in. It's flexible that way.
12 ounces pork chops (2 pork steaks)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Splash on each side of each chop: lemon juice, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce
Sprinkle on each side of each chop: lemon pepper, seasoned salt, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, celery salt, paprika, cayenne, italian spices
.5-1 cup booze*
.5-1 cup broth or water
Heat a pan to medium or medium high heat. Add butter and oil. Add your flavourings to one side of each piece of meat. Put the meat, spice side down, in the pan when the butter is melted. Sear. While it's searing, put flavourings on the other side of the meat. Flip the meat and sear the other side. When seared, add the booze, and if you'd like, a bit more lemon. Let the liquid come to a boil, then turn it down. Simmer until the liquid is nearly gone and a thicker sauce is forming. Flip the chops, then add the broth or water. Raise the heat a little and simmer, again, until the sauce is thickened. Remove chops and pour the sauce over them. Serves 2.
*Booze? I prefer using whiskey, vodka or burgundy. I have, however, used every kind of booze there is, except beer and schnapps. So you just use what you have.
4 small-to-medium yukon gold potatoes
1 small vidalia onion
.5 teaspoon: salt, pepper
.25 teaspoon: dill, tarragon
1 tablespoon truffle-infused balamic (or regular, if that's what you've got)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat the oven to 375F. Dice the onions and potatoes small (.75"-ish). Put them in a baking dish, add the other stuff and stir well. Bake at least 30 minutes and up to an hour. Serves 2.
No picture today, because I forgot. I got excited to eat.