Every once in awhile, I make the perfect meal. The meal where all of the flavors go together perfectly and it is exactly what I want to eat at that moment. It doesn't happen very often, I believe that my last perfectly coordinated meal was chicken with gremolata, which occurred on July 27, 2007. Maybe I am destined to create the perfect meal twice a year. Now, don't get me wrong, I've had some tasty meals between July and now, but anytime I can put together a protein and 2 sides and have it all mesh perfectly, I am proud of myself.
I know that tonight's meal may not look all that attractive. It's hard to make varying shades of tan, brown, and beige look attractive. And I know my sour cream sauce separated a bit, but it doesn't matter. This was all so good! The menu was One-Pan Whiskey-Flavored Pork Chops, cabbage slow braised with apples, and mashed potatoes to smother in all that whiskey sauce goodness. The pork chop recipe came from Cooking Light, the cabbage was ala Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, and the mashed potatoes, thank goodness, just came from my head, because I can do some things without a book.
One-Pan Whiskey-Flavored Pork Chops
from Cooking Light January 2001
2/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1/2 cup whiskey
Preheat oven to 300°.
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; sauté 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove pork from pan. Add onion and mushrooms to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Carefully add whiskey to pan; cook for 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir sour cream mixture into pan. Return pork to pan; spoon sauce over pork.
Wrap handle of skillet with foil. Cover and bake at 300° for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
4 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and about 1/3 cup sauce)
You know what this reminded me of?? If you are old enough, you might remember the crock pot recipe that used pork chops and cream of mushroom soup. This was like that, only much, much, much better. You could pick up a hint of something special in the sauce, but I don't think you would be able to identify it as whiskey, if you didn't know. One change I made, I did not bake it for an hour. First of all, I forgot to start it early enough and second of all, I didn't really think it needed an hour. And it didn't, I baked it for about 30 minutes and it was cooked perfectly.
The pork chop recipe really stole the show, but the cabbage made quite a nice showing for itself. Basically you slowly braise the cabbage in butter with some chopped apples (and a few cloves). Right before serving you stir in a few tablespoons of apricot preserves and a little cider vinegar. The apples pretty much dissolve and the cabbage becomes soft and sweet. And the mashed potatoes were perfectly lumpy, just how I like them.