Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops With Sage & Garlic; Red Quinoa

I wouldn't classify myself as a huge carnivore, but when I do eat meat, I like it to be good quality meat. I buy most of our meat at our local farmer's market which a) keeps us from eating too much meat due to the expense and b) makes me much more conscious of the meat's quality, how I cook it, etc. These pork chops come from Stillman's Farm, and they were, like everything I've ever purchased from Stillman's, absolutely amazing. So, when meat is fresh and of high quality, I tend to go for minimalist recipes that enhance the meat's own flavor (sometimes a challenge with pork). I had some fresh sage that I picked up at the Farmer's Market, and so a little googling brought me to Josh Friedland's wonderful blog, The Food Section.

Friedland summarized the recipe for the pork chops from Suzanne Dunaway's Rome at Home. I followed his directions with one tiny addition: white wine in addition to the lemon juice. I did need more liquid after the first lemon's worth of juice, so I used wine instead of another lemon. No regrets. :)

These pork chops were amazing (I said that already). Pan-roasting takes awhile, particularly for chops that have a decent amount of fat (which helps keep the chops moist), so be prepared to stand at the stove for awhile, if you have large cuts. But, as Friedland says, the sage is the key to this recipe. Infusing the oil with the sage and garlic, rather than cooking the chops IN the sage makes a huge difference.

I served it with leftover Mixed Bean Salad and Red Quinoa with Currants. I like red quinoa much more than plain---it is more aromatic and "nuttier." I followed the directions on the package, but used chicken broth instead of water and added currants and dash of black truffle oil right at the end of cooking (basically when the quinoa is done, but "sitting" in its own heat). That plumps up the currants nicely and the truffle oil helps bring out the nutty flavor of the quinoa.