The Literate Chef

Basta Pasta!

In General Articles on May 13, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Enough with the pasta! Now it’s time for some meat dishes – more protein and fewer carbs. Pork is promoted by its producers as ‘the other white meat‘ and like chicken, the ‘original white meat’, it is sold in many different forms: roasts, tenderloin, pork shoulder, sausages and ribs, and of course chops, either on the bone or boneless. It is also adaptable to a variety of different cooking methods: frying, roasting, broiling, braising and barbecuing.

Also like chicken it goes well in combination dishes cooked with a variety of vegetables. Different sauces and spices enhance its flavor and keep it from becoming boring. A popular Southern Italian dish is Pork Chops with Vinegar Peppers. Vinegar peppers are sweet peppers that are packed and sold in jars like roasted sweet peppers; however, they are preserved primarily in vinegar and spices. The problem is that they are not always easy to find.

As a result, we developed our version after experimenting with different types of peppers. We tried fresh peppers, both red and green, as well as jarred ones. The fresh peppers required a lot of cooking time up front and frankly added little to the finished product. Ultimately we settled on a combination of hot and sweet jarred papers. We also experimented with red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar, but found them both to be too harsh, too acidic; eventually we decided upon balsamic vinegar.

Another issue with pork, particularly pork chops, is that it tends to dry out quickly in cooking. Therefore it benefits from braising, i.e., being cooked in liquid. We chose to cook these pork chops in white wine to keep them moist and add a bit of flavor. Pork Chops with Hot and Sweet Peppers is delicious, quick and easy to make and another family favorite.

Where’s the beef? Check it out at: Steak! It’s What’s for Dinner!

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