Friday, June 10, 2011

CALABRIAN PORK CHOPS WITH PEPPERS AND POTATOES

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to the "Real Housewives of New Jersey." Since I've retired, I find myself watching far more television than I ever did in the past and--worse--I can assure you it's not PBS. If this is to be a good act of contrition, I have to add that I love, love, love Teresa Giudice. It isn't just because my mom's maiden name was Guidice (I'm sure the spelling differences happened at Ellis Island). I may not be a Jersey girl geographically, but the "Italian-ness" of the show sometimes resonates. When I learned that Teresa had not one, but two cookbooks, I had to have them. I had assumed they'd be filled with very pedestrian dishes and some of them are, but there are also a few gems and long-forgotten dishes that I knew I'd want to try. This one comes from her first book Fabulicious. I can't say that mom ever made this dish. It's Calabrian and mom's family hails from Naples. Dad's mom died when they'd been married just a few years, so she never learned to make her mother-in-law's cuisine. If she had, I think this might have been a favorite dish. Both my parents loved pork and I do as well. Since the dish calls for boneless pork loin chops and olive oil and potatoes in reasonable amounts, I agree with Teresa that it's a healthy dish. You can subsitute pickled cherry peppers, as I did, and turn up the heat by using hot cherry peppers instead of sweet.

This is my adaptation of Teresa's dish:

Serves 4
5-6 tbs olive oil, divided
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz) boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 lbs new red potatoes, sliced in half
6 sweet pickled cherry peppers, tops removed, seeded, and quarted
1 large roasted red pepper, cut into large dice

In a glass or ceramic mixing bowl, whisk 3 tbs olive oil with the vinegar, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Let stand for 10-15 minutes, then add the pork, coating it completely, and let sit for another 10-15 minutes.

Heat 2 tbs oil in a large skilled over high heat. Remove the pork from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. In batches, add the pork to the skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until the pork browns, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook! Transfer the browned pork to a plate and leave any remaining fat in the skillet.

Add 1-2 more tbs olive oil to the skillet, reducing the heat to medium high. Add the potatoes and the peppers, stirring well. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water to the skillet and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the water evaporates and the potatoes are almost tender and lightly browned, abaout 15 minutes. Return the pork to the skillet, stir, and cover. Let cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
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TASTE NOTES
Heaven on a plate! If I were not watching calories, I'd have added a loaf of crusty bread and a bottle of my best red. The flavors come together perfectly in the dish and the potatoes are creamy inside with just a bit of carmelization. I could easily have eaten another portion (but didn't) and plan to make this again soon. The book was worth the price if only for this new favorite.

5 comments:

  1. I just love when pork looks so delicious like this, its calling me!

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  2. The Housewives are definitely a guilty pleasure.
    ;-) Loving the combination with the potatoes and peppers.

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  3. I love the housewives of NJ too and Teresa is definitely one of my favorites. I've been curious about her cookbooks and if this recipe is any indication of the recipes then I know I would love it. Pork is a real favorite in my house and I know this is a meal my family would love! Hooray for guilty pleasures:)

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  4. What a great combination! I love the idea of pork with the cherry peppers and potatoes.

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  5. I've never watched any of the "housewives" series, but saw Terese's cookbooks and bought her one on cooking 'skinny'. She's an inspiration and this dish looks excellent, Arlene!

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