Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday - Spanish-Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans

Howdy do to all my blogging buddies. Hope you are all having a great day. Only two more days until the weekend so hang in there! Here we are again at Rachael Ray Wednesday. I searched for a bit and came up with Spanish Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans. MMmmmmm sounded soooo good to me.


My whole family loves chorizo, we lived in Southern California for most of my kids' lives, as well as my own. So chorizo and egg burritos on the weekends were something we all looked forward to. We are trying to initiate Kevin into the burrito fan club. You know the whole if you mix just about anything with eggs, cheese, and hot sauce, it goes great in burrito line of thinking? So far he is not buying it, but I am not giving up!


So we got the chorizo cooking and immediately I am happy with the smells coming from my kitchen. Then you blend the roasted red pepper sauce in the food processor and YUMMM it just made my mouth water. Kevin even said it smelled terrific.


I did stick right to the recipe on this one, believe it or not! The only thing is I feel I over salted a bit. I didn't take into account the salt in the chorizo, so make sure you taste the final sauce before you salt.


I was lucky that my grocery store had preground chorizo in their meat case. If your grocery store doesn't carry Spanish chorizo you could substitute the Mexican chorizo, just be aware that Mexican chorizo is fattier and melts into a sauce really, not like ground meat. You also could use linguica. 


I did the pork chops in a cast iron skillet and transfered them to the oven like it called for. But I feel the chops were a bit overdone going by the times listed in the recipe. Kevin felt the same, but Seth said he felt they were just fine. Jessi by the way wouldn't even eat them so we have no input from Miss Picky Pants. I mentioned to the family that I felt it was over salted but again the kiddo told me he thought it was really good. 


I am currently trying to think up a recipe I can incorporate the sauce minus the chorizo in. I can say I think the pork chops should be cooked less time. I did get the inch and a half thick pork chops but it was just too much time. It would definitely be too much time for a thinner chop. We also felt the green beans should be cooked a couple of minutes longer.


Here is the finished product. I love it when you can see the steam coming off the plate.



Spanish-Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 4 1 1/2 inch thick boneless center cut pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (half a palmful)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 pound chorizo, casing removed, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (from about 4 good sized sprigs)
  • 1 16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup flay leaf parsley leaves (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • 1/4 dry sherry or dry white wine (eyeball it)
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed (available ready prepped in sacks at many markets)
  • crusty bread, to pass at the table
Directions


Preheat oven to 350


Heat a large skillet over meduin-high to high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons EVOO. Season the chops with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Place the chops in the skillet and sear the meat to caramelize, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer the chops to a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven to finish off, 8 to 10 minutes, until the meat is firm to the touch, but not tough. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest, covered with a piece of aluminum foil, for a few minutes.


While the chops are in the oven, return the skillet to medium heat. Add the diced chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes. Add the garlic, onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook chorizo and onions for about 3 minutes.


Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in another skillet with a lid.


Process the roasted peppers and the parsley in a food processor until smooth. Add the sherry to the chorizo and onions and stir, then pour in the roasted red pepper puree.Cook for another minute or 2, until the puree is heated through.


Place the green beans in the boiling water. Salt the water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the beans are just tender. Drain and dress the beans with a drizzle of EVOO, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper.


Place a chop on each dinner plate, top with the chorizo and roasted red pepper sauce, serve with green beans and crusty bread for plate mopping.


serves 4






Friday, March 18, 2011

Florentine Meatballs

I have to admit, I have made these before, so I knew they were going to be good before I even hit the chopping board to prep. This is one of those recipes that caught me off guard. Simple, tasty, and it got my daughter to WANT me to add spinach to a meal! Now days it is not as hard to do, but when I first made this recipe about 2 years ago that was an amazing thing trust me.


When I say this recipe is easy I am not joking. It is such a nice feeling to make something that doesn't take a million ingredients and an hour to cook and have it taste really good. 


You will be proud of me. I actually stuck to a recipe this time! yes, I can actually do it from time to time, I promise. Possibly the fact that I was busy creating a pasta side dish was what kept me in line. It let my creative juices flow with that.  Actually I was scrambling because I forgot to pick up something to make for a side. So I roasted some garlic with anchovy and red chili flakes in olive oil and made some pasta. Topped it with shredded parm and VIOLA a full meal! There was nothing left after I packed Kevin's lunch for the next day. It was the perfect amount for 4 people if they eat 3 meatballs each.


I would suggest you give this one a try.



Florentine Meatballs


Ingredients

  • 1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave
  • 1 1/3 pound (1 package) ground turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 palm fulls
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) sack shredded provolone or blend of Italian cheeses, available on dairy aisle
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wring defrosted spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel. Place turkey in a bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Add the spinach, all but 3 tablespoons of the onion, all of the garlic, 1 large egg, about 1/4 cup milk, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into 12 large balls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
While balls are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Melt butter, add remaining finely chopped onion and cook 2 minutes then whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup stock. Bring liquid up to a boil then stir in shredded provolone or blended Italian cheeses. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn heat to lowest setting.
Place 3 balls on dinner plates and top with sauce, garnish with parsley.





Sunday, March 13, 2011

Scramblewiches



I have to admit, I am not much of a breakfast girl. As a matter of fact I am downright BORING when it comes to breakfast through the week. With my love for cooking it is amazing that I have such a lack of imagination when it comes to making myself some breakfast. Maybe that is the big problem. I hate to cook for just myself. If I lived alone I would probably starve! But once the weather starts cooling down I start to get inspired to make breakfast on the weekend. Jessi actually requested I make grits this weekend! She hasn't had grits in YEARS! I am actually excited to cook some up.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie



Yes, yes, yes, oh sorry for the rant but I love love LOVE how this recipe came out last night. I made Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie. All I can say is yummmmm. I can't take all of the credit, of course it mostly goes to Rachael Ray for her recipe (DUH), but my fabulously wonderful sous chef, AKA my boyfriend Kevin, helped by chopping most of the veggies for me. And believe me there are a LOT of veggies! But that is one of the things I love about this recipe. The veggies cook in the bacon and turkey for a long time. Then the smoked paprika joins the party and WOOHOOO look out, yummy in the tummy folks!


Now of course a recipe couldn't be cooked by me without a few missteps and tweaks, sometimes after tasting you just...well I will get to that in a minute. Ok so back on track here. Today's lesson is, make SURE you have everything for the recipe. Hmm haven't I have that problem before? Well obviously I don't learn from my own mistakes, but maybe YOU can.
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