We’ve all been there; peered in the fridge and realized that the weekly shop wasn’t done quite as comprehensively as it could have been but a decent meal still needs to be prepared. The options go a little something like this: eat out somewhere that may or may not be that great or make do with whatever random items you have to cook. Today’s post is all about the latter; working magic and creating something delish. The key is to have these four core food hack ingredients: garlic, onions, a green leafy vegetable of any description and finally pick a protein, any protein to act as the star of the show.
Pork Chop with Sautéed Vegetables
Difficulty rating: Easy Peasy
2 Pork Chops
1 Onion finely chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
Approximately 100grams of Green Leafy Vegetable sliced if necessary
¼ of a Red Bell Pepper finely chopped*
3 cooked potatoes cut in half*
Approximately 50mls of Sweet White wine*
Salt (to taste)
*entirely random and completely optional, a case of they were also in the fridge so I decided to incorporate them too, just call me greedy!
Midweek cooking is all about short cuts, there are still full two work days ahead so it is here that one wants to get their food hack hat on. I am a great believer that anything and I mean truly anything tastes better and feels special with my essential food trio: Garlic, Onions and any Green Leafy Vegetable with the protein of your choice. Apart from providing you with your essential nutrients, they all go so well together and are super quick to make. I had two pork chops knocking at the back of the freezer, but this could work just as well with chicken breasts, fish fillets or Tofu.
The protein is going to take the longest to cook so put this on first. As I was using pork chops I put them in a large frying pan, fat side down and let the fat render down. You might have to stand over the chops so that they do not fall over and cook on their flesh side as this will dry out the meat. As the fat is rendered you will end up with a chop that has a crisp on the outside, sinfully juicy on the inside rind of fat. You have options with the fat itself: either discard (boring!) or put aside to make something delicious later. Once the fat side is cooked through, reduce the heat on the frying pan and lie the chops flesh side down and cook until the juices run clear. You will know the pork is cooked as juices will run clear once pierced with a fork. This shouldn’t take too long as the chop would have been cooking whilst the fat was being rendered, but it is important to make sure with pork or indeed chicken that it is fully cooked and there is no pink flesh in the middle. Wrap in foil and put aside so they do not get cold. You can deglaze the pan with the sweet white wine on a low heat stirring vigorously so that you don’t lose any of the meat’s juices but the alcohol burns off. Put this liquor to one side for use later.
For the sautéed vegetable medley, it is important that you have done your chopping before you start cooking as you don’t want your protein to get cold. In the same pan that you have been cooking the pork or whatever protein you are using (hey, this is all about minimal washing up too!), put a tablespoon of the oil of your choice and fry your onions until they become translucent, then add your garlic, so that it doesn’t burn. Next add whatever leafy vegetable you are using, in my fridge was a Nigerian vegetable that the chap in the market called ‘Green Leaf’ but which looks and tastes like a variety of Chard. I also put the remainder of a red bell pepper in the mix and sautéed for less than two minutes as I have a profound dislike for over cooked vegetables. Remove from heat and put to one side, stirring in the deglazed liquor if you made one into the vegetables.
Next re-heat your pork fat and fry the potatoes, the potatoes will colour, which always makes thing look professional kitchen worthy and also the pork flavor will give the illusion of them having been roasted – results all round!
To plate up put a puddle of the vegetables at the centre of the plate, balance your pork chop so the rendered fat side is showing in all its glazed glory, begging the diner to eat it and casually scatter your cheat potatoes in a semi-circle. Wednesday just got tasty.