We’re having a bit of a cold snap here in Florida and so it’s time to haul out some cozy, winter comfort-food recipes. Here is a favorite pork chop recipe that makes the house smell wonderful and tastes even better. Read more…
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Until recently, I didn’t have a lot of respect for paprika. My mother only seemed to use it when a dish needed “a little bit of color” and then she would sprinkle it on whatever (usually deviled eggs), and it looked nice and didn’t really have any flavor that I could tell. And once upon a long time ago, I had to go to Budapest on a business trip — where everybody talked about paprika and it was everywhere to buy. So I was all set to become an enthusiast. I brought back 4 cans of the spice, 2 sweet and 2 hot, all set to try recipes using the “really good stuff.” Then, literally the morning after I got back from my trip, my husband read an article in the paper about some blight on the paprika harvest—advising everyone to throw away their Hungarian paprika (note: this really was a long time ago—everything is fine now—I don’t want to be sued by Hungary for asking people to throw out their paprika….) And so I forgot all about paprika for a long time.
And then, a few months ago, I was thinking about pork chops and lamenting how they never turned out tender enough for my taste—and I came across a way to make them that after trying and tweaking a few times–has solved the tenderness problem, is easy, can be make-ahead, and is very nice to look at—using paprika. What more do I want from a recipe? Nothing much–and now I have a lot of respect for paprika.
Braised Pork Chops in Paprika Sauce
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 and 1/2 hours
Total: Almost 2 hours
4 Pork Chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Flour to coat the pork chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour to coat them lightly on both sides. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet or a Dutch oven with a lid. Add the pork chops to the pan and cook them for 3 or 4 minutes per side until nicely browned. Transfer the chops to a platter.
Add the onions to the oil and cook them for about 8 to 10 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic to the pan and cook another 30 seconds. Move the pan off the heat and add the paprika, stirring until the onions are well coated. Return the pan to the heat, pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the pork chops to the pan, cover, place in the oven and cook for one hour. Test the chops with a fork—they should be tender. Remove the chops from the pan to a platter or individual serving plates. Put the pan back on low heat on the stovetop and stir in the heavy cream and the sour cream. Simmer for another minute or two while stirring until the creams are incorporated. Pour some of the sauce over each pork chop, and serve the remainder separately. The sauce is so tasty that you may want to serve this with mashed potatoes, good crusty bread or noodles—and steamed broccoli is a good vegetable accompaniment.
Here in Florida, September is still a very hot month. And while the kids are back in school and the stores inexplicably have started selling sweaters and jackets (which we can’t wear here for about another two months), we straddle the line between feeling like fall and still wearing shorts and t-shirts. And since it’s Friday, and no one in the family has any plans other than to be home for dinner—we’re having one of our favorite combinations, ribs and potatoes—both slow roasted in the oven—with the ribs finished briefly on the grill afterwards.
Of course, you can serve either of these recipes on their own. But you’ll notice that both of them require 2 hours of slow cooking at the beginning. So, this meal is good to make when you’re home for the afternoon, but you have things to do other than cook too much. And the smell of the ribs and potatoes that slowly comes into the kitchen while they’re cooking makes everybody feel hungry by the time everything is done. I like to make a green salad to go along with this meal too—and I serve extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
2 slabs of baby back ribs, each slab cut in half (about 5 or 6 ribs per piece)
Fresh, coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Cut four pieces of aluminum foil, each one big enough to completely wrap one serving of the ribs. Place one-half slab of ribs on each of piece of foil. Salt and pepper both sides of the slabs. Wrap each one up with a tight seal and place all four packages on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
Preheat or light your grill. Remove the ribs from the oven, open each package and put the rib slabs back on the baking sheet. Brush both sides of each slab with the barbecue sauce. Grill for 5 minutes per side until the sauce is nicely browned on the ribs. Remove to a platter and serve.
Slow Roasted Potatoes
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
2 pounds small white or red potatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup mint, packed, leaves only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Wash the potatoes well, dry them thoroughly and prick each one with a fork a couple of times. (You do this to keep them from exploding in your oven.) Put the potatoes in a roasting pan and roast for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, cool for about 10 minutes and cut each potato in half. Put the potatoes in a bowl big enough to toss them thoroughly.
Mix together the garlic, oil, mint, sea salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes while they’re still hot. Correct the seasoning to your taste. Let the mixture stand for a while—at least 30 minutes, but they can rest longer. Serve at room temperature or, if you’d like them warmer, run them back in the oven for about 10 minutes to heat them up.