Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rustic Pork and Beans

Sunday evening - the weekend is winding down. It's always that calm before the storm. Not that as of tomorrow it is going to be stormy - or even that a storm is a brewing - but it's just that feeling of comfort ending, and pace is about to start. Pace - that there is always something to do and not enough time to do it in. I used to feel pace when it was the weekend too. And then something happened - not sure what, really, it just happened. Now on a weekend, even though there is a lot that I can be doing - trust me, so much - I don't feel guilty about bringing down a glass of iced tea, curling up on the couch with a blanket and watching the season final of Top Chef.

The first part of the weekend had no pace. It was lovely. My mom and I went out yesterday to do some clothes shopping. She is needing some new digs for an upcoming holiday. She had a list of things she needed. I did not. She came home with nothing. I did not. She found nothing on her list. I found stuff that was not on a list. We ended our (sorry, my) shopping spree with lunch at the Irish Times Pub with Chris - all in all a great day. You may remember the last time I was at the Irish Times Pub - click here. This time we were a little more subdued. They really do have incredible pub food there.

I haven't cooked this weekend at all. It's like I am on strike or something. For dinner tonight though, I am cooking up a batch of spaghetti sauce. I am hoping that this will last a couple of lunches and dinners. I am doing the usual - canned tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, ground chicken, garlic, onions and lots and lots of spinach - and serving it with whole wheat pasta.

I have been really excited to share this recipe with you. I saw it on an episode of Chuck's Day Off - man I love that show. I have switched it up a bit - as I don't eat veal, or use veal stock - but I think that it turned out just as delicious as if Chuck had made it. I will definitely be making this dish again.

Rustic Pork and Beans
(don't let the name fool you)

4 pork chops - bone in - at least an inch thick - thicker if you can find them
2 shallots - finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic - minced
2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes
2 cups of stock - I used chicken
2 sprigs of rosemary - chopped - about 2 tbsp
2 cups of white beans - kidney - rinsed and drained - or use dry and soak overnight
Kosher salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

In a large oven proof pot, drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil and add shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the rosemary, tomatoes and the beans and let the tomatoes and beans be covered with the garlic and shallots. Add the chicken stock. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Place in the 350 oven and let it cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and let it continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

In the meantime, drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil on each pork chop and season with kosher salt and pepper. In an ovenproof skillet, brown both sides of the chops. This should take no longer than 5-8 minutes. When both sides are nicely browned, place the skillet in the oven and let the chops continue to cook. 20 minutes should be more than enough time.

At this time, both are done at the same time. Place the pork chop on the plate and cover it with the tomatoes and beans and the delicious sauce.

And that's it! This dish is not only so flavourful and aromatic, but it is a perfect meal. We had a small salad with it and some rustic bread that I cut into thin slices to let us soak up the broth.

Jules and Chris both rated this a 5.

I picture that I would find this dish in Italy. An older, Italian woman, an incredible chef would serve it to us as we sit out overlooking the rolling hills of Tuscany, sipping wine. I would be just sitting there smiling and basking in all of the gloriousness of the night - and they would be talking in Italian - probably about how all I do is sit and smile. This is what dreams are made of. Food does that to me!!!!
I hope that for whoever is reading my blog is always able to pick up on how I am trying to add humour - if not - I am sorry that I sound like such a dork.

Alright friends - I hope that you are able to find and set your pace for the week - and that it goes by just the way that you would like it to.



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