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Mar 25, 2019 2:06 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Pork Chops and Mashed Potatoes Are Spring Comfort Food

Double stuffed pork chop with broccoli BY JANEEN SARLIN
Mar 25, 2019 2:06 PM

Comfort food is the antidote to unpredictable spring weather and other situations. Here’s a menu that’s predictably delicious and soothing for such a time as this!

Mashed potatoes belong in this category without any question. However, I’ve streamlined the traditional cooking method for two reasons. First, cooking the potatoes in the cream or milk saves a step and an extra saucepan to wash. And second, adding herbs and garlic to the potatoes elevates the flavor profile to the top. If you want, add a bonus of extra nutrition; scrub but don’t peel the potatoes for “dirty” delicious mashed potatoes.

Tender stuffed double pork chops are comforting indeed. First, the chops are marinated overnight to impart a depth of flavor, then stuffing the chops with apples and onions offers an additional layer of flavor to the meat. Finally, the braising liquid keeps the meat moist while the apples and onions in the dish naturally become thickened for a delicious sauce.

Orange and rosemary roasted carrots are an excellent addition to this meal. I’d add steamed broccoli florets for color. Pour a glass of Pinot Noir or your favorite red wine to enjoy with dinner. Bon appetit!

Slow Braised Stuffed Boneless Double Pork Chops

(Serves 4)

4 double boneless pork chops, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick trimmed of excess fat

For the marinade:

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, sliced

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard with horseradish

1/3 cup Calvados or applejack brandy

1/4 cup olive oil

For the stuffing:

2 tart apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

About 2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground sage or fresh sage leaves, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Few drops of extra virgin olive oil

Coconut oil for sautéing

About 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken stock or half Calvados and half stock

Chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish

To prepare:

One day ahead, place chops in a nonreactive dish that can accommodate them in a single layer. Season the chops with pepper, rub garlic into the sides, and scatter onions over the meat. Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk the mustard, Calvados or brandy and oil together and pour it over the chops. Roll the chops around to coat all the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Remove chops from the marinade. Cut a slit along one side of each chop to create a “pocket” in the middle of the meat.

Toss the sliced apples and onion with the lime juice, add cinnamon, sage, salt, pepper, and a few drops of olive oil. Taste a slice of apple and adjust the seasonings. Stuff a few slices of apple/onion into the “pocket” of the chops and press the edges together. Reserve the remainder of the stuffing.

In a heavy casserole dish that will hold the chops in one layer over high heat, coat the bottom with coconut oil and sear the edges and brown both sides of the chops. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining apple/onion stuffing to the casserole dish and sauté about 3 minutes. Remove half of the apple/onion stuffing, return the chops to the casserole dish and top with remaining stuffing. Add stock or Calvados.

Cover the casserole, set in the center of the oven and slow roast until the chops are tender, about 2 hours. Transfer the chops to warm dinner plates, spoon the sauce over the chops, and garnish with parsley. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.

Orange and Rosemary Roasted Carrots

(Serves 4)

8 to 10 carrots, peeled and trimmed left whole or cut into equal sized sticks

1/2 seedless orange, 2 strips of zest peeled and a juiced orange

2 to 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, left whole

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

To prepare:

With a vegetable peeler, remove about 2 strips of the orange peel. Squeeze the orange and reserve the juice.

Meanwhile, prepare the carrots and place in a shallow dish or a heavy zip-lock bag. Add about 1/4 cup of orange juice, orange zest, garlic, olive oil, and rosemary sprigs, seal the bag and marinate about two hours.

To roast:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Remove the carrots from the marinade and scatter them on the prepared baking sheet. Season the carrots with salt and pepper and roast until they are fork tender, about 30 minutes. The roasting time depends on the size of the carrots. Transfer carrots to a serving platter, garnish with parsley and serve at once.

Streamlined Mashed Potatoes

(Serves 4 to 6)

2 1/2 pounds all-purpose or baking potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cut into rough cubes

About 1 pint half and half or more if needed

2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or half butter and half extra virgin olive oil)

4 whole cloves garlic, peeled

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To prepare:

In a large heavy saucepan over moderate high heat, add potatoes, garlic, thyme sprigs, and pour in enough half and half to barely cover the potatoes. Add salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Cooking time will depend on the size and temperature of the potatoes, about 30 minutes.

Place a colander over a large bowl, strain out the potatoes, and reserve the cooking liquid. Remove the herb stems, return the potatoes to the saucepan and begin mashing them with the garlic, butter and little specks of herbs, while slowly incorporating the reserved cooking liquid until the potatoes have the desired consistency.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

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