I'm excited to be doing an upcoming Canning Workshop in Carmel, IN soon. I'll be showing a fine group of people how to can up their own apple butter. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but it's from Darcy at Message In a Mason Jar -- a very nice creative writing blog. (It's amazing how the world of Facebook can connect two people with a common interest who have never met before.) It seems that "old-fashioned" techniques such as home preserving are coming back in style; maybe it's the economy or maybe more people like knowing exactly where their food came from and how it was processed. It's a little bit of both for me.
Pork is on the menu today. Speaking of pork, I was driving home the other day and saw one of our neighbors walking the strangest looking dog. Then I realized, it was not a dog -- it was a pig! And I thought we were slightly deranged to get chickens at our house, but a pig is a whole other story. I guess I've always pictured swine more out in the country, but not only have I noticed this pink pig down the road, but there's another house about a mile away that has a couple of goats. Perhaps raising farm animals is becoming more common too, like home canning.
So, back to pork and the menu. Sometimes dinner becomes a crazy combination of whatever ingredients I have on hand at the time. I'd much rather follow a trusted recipe that I know will work, but when I've failed to make a meal plan, I'm left to improvise and cross my fingers. And here's what happened:
Pork Chops with Sauteed Vegetables
4 bone-in pork chops
2 Tbsp lard or bacon fat, divided
1 large onion, sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp freshly minced thyme
salt and pepper
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and generously salt and pepper each side. Melt 1 Tbsp fat in the skillet. Place pork chops in skillet, turning over once nicely browned. Be sure not to overcook -- remove chops when internal temperature registers 165 degrees.
3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 Tbsp fat in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms and tomatoes, stirring frequently until onions are caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook additional minute. Spoon over cooked pork chops. Serve.