Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ellie's Pork Chops and Warm Apple Slaw

pork chops and apple slaw
Pork Chops and Warm Apple Slaw
Smell can make us draw pretty powerful associations, wouldn't you agree? The smell of sauteing garlic always reminds me of gravy on Sundays and good memories of my parents' kitchen filled with family. On the other hand, the smell of Pine Sol makes me think about mopping the floor after one of the dogs has been on a naughty streak. You get my drift. Is this not a good way to start a food post? Perhaps, but I need you to understand how hesitant I was to make the husband cabbage for dinner - and get him to eat it. 

I love cabbage. I enjoy a good cole slaw, steamed cabbage with butter, sauteed cabbage with olive oil and salt and pepper, and I even like a little cabbage soup every now and then. The husband, however, feels the need to make faces, tell me I'm gross and talk about how  awful the kitchen smells every time I make cabbage. Every. Single. Time. So I really wasn't sure how well tonight's dinner would go over. But I really wanted to make this recipe, and the husband recently told me he'd try anything I want to make. (And, yes, there's a chance he admitted this after a few PBRs, but I'm not about to forget it.) 

Since I've been curling up on the couch lately with Heartland I hoped to find a pork chop recipe in there. Unfortunately, all of the pork recipes called for pork loin or rump roast (if my memory is correct) and I had thawed pork chops. So I turned to Ellie Krieger, hoping she'd redeem herself and provide us with better memories than the artichoke dip did.

I found Ellie's Sage-Rubbed Pork Chops With Warm Apple Slaw and it called for ingredients that I actually had in the house. It was like it was meant to be! I rubbed the pork chops with the spices and let them rest while I chopped an apple, a little onion, two carrots and a lot of cabbage. I figured since I had cut the recipe in half I didn't need to use a large nonstick skillet as Ellie instructed. My advice to you? Use a large nonstick skillet, even if you are only making this recipe to feed two. I started out with a smallish skillet and learned my lesson rather quickly.

sauteing cabbage
See how important the large skillet is?
Aside from all of the chopping, this meal wasn't that hard to put together, and I think it could easily be made in 30 minutes - so long as you have all of your ingredients handy. And it smelled awfully good while it was cooking. When the husband came into the kitchen I tensed up a bit, worrying about what he'd say; he told me dinner smelled like Chinese food. 

"Is that a good thing?" I asked him, worried he was associating this nice home-cooked meal with a greasy all-you-can-eat buffet.

"I'll let you know," he told me.

The husband let me spoon cabbage onto his plate without complaining and even ate his fair share. He said it wasn't something he'd want to eat every week, but it wasn't that bad. This coming from the man who would rather eat skip vegetables altogether and eat a box of raisins a day to count as his daily serving of fruit was a major compliment. So what about the Chinese smell? The husband said it wasn't a negative. But the next time he eats this cabbage, he said, he'd like it in a spring roll. And he'd like it fried. We'll see. I'm just glad I've helped him create a positive cabbage memory. 

pork chops with cabbage slaw
Dinner was good ... from all angles!
Pork Chops With Warm Apple Slaw
Slightly, Slightly Adapted From Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave

2 (4-ounce) pork chops
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried sage
pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil

For the slaw:

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 large red onion
1/2 apple
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
2 carrots, shredded
1/3 head cabbage, coarsely chopped (or about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1/3 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
salt, to taste

Rub the pork chops with the salt, sage and pepper; let them rest for about 10 minutes while you start chopping the vegetables.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the pork chops on both sides, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate. Carefully wipe the remaining oil from the skillet.

Add another teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet; cook the onion, apple and sage until softened and beginning to brown, about 4-5 minutes.

Add in the carrots, cabbage, vinegar and garlic. Cook until the cabbage begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and return the pork to the pan. Cover the pork with the veggies and cover. Cook covered for about 7 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.

Serves Two
Amount Per Serving, According to Ellie's calculations, which probably differ slightly from mine:
330 calories, 13 g fat, 22 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 32 g protein

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