Weekly Winner: Down & Dirty, and Ugly-Tasty.

IMG_0461I’m not one to mess around with things I dearly love.  A good steak doesn’t need steak sauce or really sauce of any kind.  Salt & Pepper.  Done.  The same can be said (usually) for pork chops.  I love the taste of them as is, no need to muck them up.  Then I learned there is a thing called “Tomato-Bacon Gravy”… wha-what??  OK, maybe a little mucking wouldn’t hurt.  After all you’re adding pig to, well, pig!!  What can be wrong with that?  And, by adding tomatoes aren’t you actually making it healthier? (work with me here!)

Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy is not pretty.  It’s not healthy and not something you’ll necessarily want to serve to company.  But man, on a random chilly night when you just want to change into your pajamas and tuck into something truly scrumptious, this is your meal.  I tried to assuage my guilt by roasting up a big batch of broccoli to go with it, but truth be told I wound up dragging the healthy broccoli through the extra gravy.  This decadent, dirty dinner comes from Southern Living Magazine.  Had I to do it all over again, there would definitely be mashed potatoes with this dinner.  Guilt be damned!

Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 thick-cut bacon slices

4 (1″ thick) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 10 oz each)

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 tsp black pepper, divided

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup beef stock

2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium until crisp, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, set aside. Reserve drippings in skillet off heat.
  • Sprinkle pork chops with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Place skillet over medium-high, add pork chops, and cook in hot drippings until well browned, 3 minutes per side.  Transfer pork chops to an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet
  • Place in the preheated oven; cook until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of pork chop registers 145F, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place skillet with remaining drippings over medium-high. Add tomatoes and remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered and beginning to burst, about 3 minute.  Sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add stock; stir until smooth.  Reduce hat to medium, and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
  • Chop bacon; stir into tomato gravy and serve over pork chops. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

 

Weekly Winner: My new-found meatloaf fixation turns south…. Of the border, that is.

As this will be my fourth meatloaf entry, I guess it’s safe to say that I am no longer ambivalent about meatloaf.  I now seem to always be on the lookout for an interesting take on the everyday “loaf of meat”. This latest discovery had two major points in its favor.  One, my husband was born in Albuquerque and has a deep and abiding love of chile peppers, so when I saw that this had poblano peppers in it — score one for the meatloaf.  Then, there is the Queso Gravy. Excuse me??? Cheese Gravy????  Game, set and match – meatloaf!

South-of-the-Border Meatloaf with Lime Queso Gravy was an absolute triumph.  The meatloaf itself was great, but then you add the queso gravy and … Um, yeah…. Home run.  Another great thing about the recipe is that it is designed to make individual “mini” meatloaves.  There is something supremely satisfying about sitting down to your own meatloaf.  No sharing!  Not that you can’t turn any meatloaf recipe into individual mini-meatloaves (trust me, I have!) but it’s just nice that they start out this way so there’s no tinkering with timing or oven temperature.

If there is a problem with this recipe, it’s that I have no idea where this one came from.  I can’t seem to find the source anywhere.  Regardless, it’s a keeper!  Did I mention the cheese gravy??  I mean, seriously!!

South-of-the-Border Meatloaf with Lime Queso Gravy

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2-3/4 cups whole milk, divided

2 eggs

1 Tbsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp chili powder

2 tsp each black pepper and dried oregano

2 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander

3 slices white sandwich bread, torn

1 cup diced white onions

1 cup diced poblano chiles

2 large cloves garlic

1 lb ground chuck

1 lb ground pork

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp flour

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Minced zest of 1/2 lime

Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil
  2. Whisk together 3/4 cup milk, eggs, 1 Tbsp salt, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cumin and coriander.  Add bread and mash together with a fork.
  3. Mince onions, poblano and garlic in a food processor
  4. Combine ground chuck, ground pork, minced onion mixture, and bread mixture.
  5. Divide meatloaf mixture into six equal portions, shape into mini loaves, and arrange on prepared baking sheet.  Cook meatloaves until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centers registers 165F, about 35 minutes.  Let meatloaf rest about 10 minutes while making gravy.
  6. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in flour; cook 2 minutes.
  7. Slowly whisk in 2 cups milk until smooth.  Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  8. Off heat, whisk in cheese, lime juice, and zest until cheese melts; season with salt and cayenne.