Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cider-Maple-Dijon Pork Chops: Another One-Pot Oven Meal

Here's a meal you can start with frozen pork chops, put in the oven, and ignore.  Maple syrup and mustard are surprisingly good flavor partners for pork.  Add some apple cider and cider vinegar and you have a wonderfully tasty concoction for bringing flavor to boneless loin pork chops and assorted vegetables.

  • 2 boneless loin pork chops
  • 1 shallot or other mild onion, thinly sliced
  • 8-12 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  1. Lay the shallot or onion slices in an 8" x 13" glass roasting pan.
  2. Place the frozen or thawed pork chops on top of the onions.
  3. Layer the other vegetables around the pork chops.
  4. Mix together the maple syrup, cider, vinegar and mustard and pour over the chops and veggies.
  5. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350°F for 30-45 minutes depending on how frozen the pork was.
  6. Uncover the pan, flip the pork chops and spoon the juices and some of the veggies over them.
  7. Return to the oven for another 30-45 minutes.
The cooking time for this is imprecise.  The long cooking time enables the pork chops to become tender and the vegetables to soak up some of the flavors.  The only thing to watch is that you don't let the liquid boil away.  If it seems to be loosing too much liquid, recover the pan for the end of the cooking.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fat-free Cream of You-Choose-the-Vegetable Soup

Good looking asparagus is hitting the supermarket shelves.  Like many folks, hubby Bill doesn't like asparagus so it doesn't end up on the supper plate.  I love it and I love soup for lunch so Cream of Asparagus Soup is on the menu.

It's easy to make a fat-free cream of vegetable soup.  The basic ingredients are
  • a vegetable, either raw or roasted, such as asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, etc.
  • fat-free broth, either chicken, beef, or vegetable
  • fat-free evaporated milk
  • salt, pepper, and a dried or fresh herb mix
  • a flour and water slurry to thicken
  1. Cut the vegetable into chunks and place in a large sauce pan.
  2. Sprinkle on the herbs.
  3. Cover with broth and bring to a boil.
  4. When the vegetable is partially cooked, whir with an immersion blender.
  5. Add the evaporated milk and simmer for several minutes.
  6. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the flour and water slurry and simmer a few more minutes to thicken.
  8. Whir again with the blender to get any flour lumps, missed chunks of vegetables, or dried herb bits.
Serve. This is even better the next day.  I just had a bowl of Cream of Asparagus soup that made my tummy very happy.  It  had in it:
I am not sponsored by any brands.  The only reason for listing them here is so you can know what I used if you want to replicate what I did.

Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.