Most days, I am absolutely terrible at coming up with ideas for dinner – downright awful, in fact. It’s really the reason behind this blog: if I come up with enough go-to recipes, I’ll always have something in my back pocket no matter what I’m craving. Unfortunately, I’m still a long ways away from having an impressive library of delicious recipes; I’m getting there, but there’s still quite the journey ahead.
On a regular night, at home with Mateja, that’s not too big of a deal. I can be painfully slow at selecting the night’s menu, but as long as there’s some sort of snack to tide us over, it’s all good. On a night when we’re hosting old university friends – and they’re driving more than an hour round-trip to visit with us, and of them is pregnant and has dietary issues – that simply won’t suffice.
So then, imagine my horror last night as I flipped through my Jamie Oliver Food Revolution cookbook, completely lost as to what to make. Mr. Oliver’s cookbook has come in handy many times before, but that’s part of the problem: I wanted to make something new, something to impress. I’d already made most of the dishes I was naturally drawn to, so there were far fewer options available than if this cookbook were new to me. On top of that, the meal had to be gluten-free – not something I often take into consideration when cooking.
Amazingly, I found three potential options. Two were new-to-me recipes (this one, and a pancetta-wrapped chicken breast), and the third was – while not new – a tried and true roast beef. With three different avenues I could go down, I decided to let price be the deciding factor. I love hosting friends, but it can be expensive. Even when they bring wine, dessert, and salad (I guess they knew that raw leafy greens don’t appear too frequently in my blog), it’s not usually a cheap affair. Thankfully, at about $3/pork chop, the night’s protein was very reasonably-priced, and the decision of which dish to make was an easy one.
In fact, the price afforded me to purchase an extra chop, which ended up being a dinner-saver. While my first-attempt Hasselback Potatoes were baking away in the oven, I prepped all the pork: cutting off the skin (which I sliced lengthways in two, and reserved for “crackling”), scoring the remaining fat, rubbing with olive oil, and generously seasoning with salt and pepper. Then, with a bit of extra time before our guests arrived, I decided to do a practice run. Thank goodness I did, because doing so saved us from over-cooked, heavily charred pork. The practice run wasn’t terrible, but adjustments to temperature, time, and glaze ingredients and amounts really took the pork from edible to extraordinary.
If you want the full recipe, it’s available online. It’s not courtesy of Jamie Oliver in this case (he shares many of his recipes, but it can’t be expected to share them all for free, right?), so I’d recommend actually picking up a copy of his Food Revolution cookbook if you get a chance. I’ve used a ton of recipes from it, and especially love the curries included.
I followed the recipe closely in most respects, though I obviously increased the yield to accommodate our guests (enough for five adults and one fetus). For the glaze, I chose a combination of runny honey and no-added-sugar apple sauce, which I highly recommend. Also, I found that the pork chops cooked best if my elements were set to about 70% of the highest heat, and no more.
If you saw my Hasselback Potatoes post, then you’ve already seen the finished meal. If not, here are a few photos to help convince you that you should make this soon – or possibly even tonight. I’m still working on my photography skills, but I feel like I’m steadily improving. I’m starting to get fellow bloggers telling me that I’m actually influencing what their cooking at home (or at least joking that they want to make what I’ve posted), so I must be doing something right.
Now, without further adieu (as this is understandably into TL;DR, simply looked at pictures territory), Jamie Oliver’s Pan-Fried Glazed Pork Chops:
I’m posting this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, cohosted this week by Anna @ Anna International. It’s my second entry for the day, so I’m going to take a much-needed rest after this – probably kick up my feet and check out what the other’s are bringing to FF. So, until next time, “happy cooking!”