Thursday, July 31, 2014

March Pictures & A Delicious Recipe

If one cat is great, two cats must be fabulous, and we certainly agree with that in our household.  We love Miss Essie and Miss Stella, both cats from the Humane Society.  It was a tricky first month or so of them learning to get along, but now they are best friends.

March saw us celebrate Purim for the first time with a reading of the book of Esther with attendant noisemakers and Purim treats (hamantaschen, yum!)

I snagged an old Rachael Ray cookbook at a thrift store earlier in the year (I know, I know, the last thing I need is more cookbooks, but I love new recipes) and the recipes are surprisingly fantastic.  This was one of the first ones I tried and it's so yummy I wanted to share the recipe (and the smell during the cooking process is seriously Ah-mazing).

Oregon-Style Pork Chops with Pinot Noir and Cranberries
Oregon Hash with Wild Mushrooms, Greens, Beets, Hazelnuts, and Blue Cheese
Charred Whole-Grain Bread with Butter and Chives

Pork Chops:
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 cup hazelnut pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir
1 cup chicken broth or stock
1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 bunch of kale, chopped (4-5 cups)
1 15oz can sliced beets, drained
1 loaf crusty bread
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp chopped chives

Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season chops with salt and pepper.  Add 2 Tbsp EVOO to the hot skillet and then add the chops.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  While they cook, split the leeks lengthwise, slice in 1/2 inch half moon pieces, and wash vigorously. Shake to dry.

To make the hash, preheat a second large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the nuts to the skillet and brown for 2-3 minutes, then remove and set aside.

Remove the chops to a warm plate, tent with foil, and set aside.  To the skillet, add another Tbsp of the EVOO and the leeks.  Cook the leeks until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the cranberries and Pinot Noir to the pan.  Scrape up the pan drippings and stir in the chicken stock.  When the sauce comes to a bubble, add the chops back to the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Finish cooking the chops through, about 10 minutes.

To finish the hash: To the skillet used to toast the nuts, add the tbsp of EVOO and 1 tbsp of the butter.  When the butter melts into the oil, add the shallots and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, then add the kale.  Wilt the kale into the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste.  When the kale is hot and wilted, add the beets and gentle combine.  Adjust the seasonings.

Preheat the broiler.  Pull the chops from their sauce and reserve on a clean warm plate.  Raise the heat and bring the sauce back to a bubble.  Cut off 4 thick slices of the bread.  Char the bread under the broiler on each side while you finish the sauce.  Add 2 Tbsp of butter to the sauce to give it gloss and weight, and turn off the heat.  Spread the charred bread with the remaining Tbsp of butter and sprinkle with chopped chives.

Pour the sauce over the chops.  Serve with the hash alongside the chops and toasts and top with crumbles of blue cheese.

Serves 4