It starts with some simple sliced onions – in this case a yellow onion, but any colour or type will do. For two, we used half a very large onion.
These are browned in a pan with some olive oil (Grammy would have used butter, but it’s much more inclined to burn).
Don’t be afraid to use a regular (not non-stick) pan – it will give much better colour to the dish. Cook the onion until it is a little more caramelized than these, then add the pork chops. We bought the onion and the chops from our local butcher, Mark, at St. Jamestown Steak and Chops. We don’t eat much meat any more, so when we do, we like to make sure it’s good quality.
Raise the heat a bit, and brown the chops on both sides. When they have some good colour, and the bits in the bottom of your pan are turning a nice brown, deglaze with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of wine or vermouth. We used vermouth. Grammy would have used neither. She also would have used a lot more salt, but we love the natural taste of the meat and the onions.
Next, add about 1/2 a cup of water, cover and simmer about 20 minutes over low heat – your chops will relax and become very tender.
Stir in a tablespoon or so of cornstarch that you’ve dissolved in a bit of water. Raise the heat to medium and stir, just until the juices become clear again and a delicious, oniony gravy has formed.
We served ours with mashed sweet potatoes and a simple salad of local hothouse mixed greens and cucumber, dressed with equal parts walnut oil, Kozlik’s Old Smokey, and homemade white wine vinegar.
We were in town yesterday for some errands, a visit to Fred, lunch, and a stop at Highland Drive. We were planning a nice mushroom risotto, but once we bought these delicious-looking pork chops we were tempted to rearrange the meal plan. The threat of rain in the forecast sealed the deal. On the side: local veg salad. Sometimes simple is simply the best.
It all started with a trip to the market yesterday, where we bought some delicious-looking bacon from Sweet Williams…
The great thing about really nice bacon (instead of cheap, mass-produced bacon) is that there is a lot of flavour in a single, beautiful slice. Paired with some hot mustard, tomato, and egg…you have the makings of a tasty breakfast.
Make the egg runny, or not, as is your taste. Assemble and enjoy.
Storm of the year! Here we are, having been tested by snow, ice and wind. Fortunately so far all is intact, we have heat and light, and we have managed to clear a path to the road.
What made us leave our walk-to-the-subway-and-avoid-the-elements existence? Who knows. But the call of this land is strong and the battle of the wind and water seems to actually strengthen our pioneer spirit. What we do know, is that the pioneers knew sustenance when they saw it. Our Grammy was a comfort food expert, and she always made us feel better by serving this: onion gravy pork chops with mashed potatoes and veg (any veg!)
Travel safely wherever you are, and honour your grandmothers. They’re worth it. And while you’re at it, learn to cook the favourite thing they make. Someday you’ll need it.
It’s foggy over the bay this morning, but yesterday was the first hot, sunny, really summery day of the year. We started with golf, then into the city to do some shopping and “summer hair”.
Local pork chops were secured from Highland Drive (recommended by Fred as The BEST) and grilled with a little chipotle powder and a light hand on the sea salt. On the side, steamed young turnips and radish, and a salad of greens from our garden – turnip, Vulcan and Simpson lettuces, Bibb, romaine, arugula, and Swiss chard. On top, some steamed young asparagus, and a dressing of Dijon, sesame oil, and Mirin.
The first winter storm threatened with its presence today. Hard, driving rain and wind, mixed with a little snow. The kind of howling night that makes you want comfort food. But after a day of work, how can slow food be not so slow?
We had some delicious white beans, pre-cooked, in the freezer. A couple of pork chops. And some San Marzano tomatoes. We put the chops in a casserole, topped with the beans and chopped rosemary. Over that, a couple of tomatoes each, and a little juice. More rosemary and pepper.
After 45 minutes in a 400F oven, covered, a delicious tender dinner was waiting. We finished the plates with a handful of greens. Pure comfort.
Despite the recent cold snap, grilling season is ramping up once again. This weekend we picked up these delicious chops from Rowe Farms, as well as a mixed bag of organic veg.
To cook veg in a packet is foolproof! Take two layers of foil, and put sliced veg of almost any variety (we had carrots, spinach, radish, onion, sweet potato…). Toss with a little olive oil and herbs of your choice. Wrap it up tightly and put it on the grill while it’s heating. Continue to cook, turning occasionally, until chops, steaks, or burgers are done.
Christmastime at our house always involves tourtière, usually on Christmas Eve, after Mass. The year we moved to the walkablefeast Neighbourhood, I went shopping at Royal Beef for my ingredients. I didn’t see any ground pork, so I asked the butcher. And do you know what he asked me? “Are you making tourtière ?” and ” What mix with the beef, 50-50? Because I can just make that up for you.”
Those are the sort of touches that make you know you’re at home, even if your “real” home is miles away. And they’re also what make you want to be a small shop shopper, and turn in your big box membership forever.
It’s true. Alfresco dining days are disappearing. But while we can, we’ll keep enjoying the backyard dining opportunities.
We grilled a regular grocery store Ontario pork chop (from Valu-Mart, down the street). It would be nice to do butcher shop chops every day, but it’s hard on the budget, so we do that as often as we can. These were dusted with a little bit of ground coriander.
On the side, we served cauliflower from the East York Farmer’s Market, and a grilled tomato topped with ermite cheese from Quebec. The tomato was fresh from our neighbours’ garden – even closer than the farm! The cauli came from the East York Farmers market. Go farmers!
Himself went to Royal Beef one day recently, when the skies were blue and cloudless, and the barbecue was calling his name. What he found was this tremendous-looking pork roast. He dressed it with a little salt and pepper, some dry mustard, and put it on the spit.
Slow, steady cooking was what it needed, and then a rest. Although there were juices on the board, with a little tenting, most were retained, and it was moist and marvelous.