Stop Whining and Add Wine

Cooking is one of my passions but, just like many people, I can get stuck in a cooking rut. I’m not sure exactly why, but I can’t seem to get excited about it right now. It’s probably because Mother Nature is currently off her medication and Spring is teasing us to the point of distraction. So, I asked my wife for some suggestions about dinner.

Karen is a great cook and, like me, is always up for trying something new. She researched a few recipes on line and several caught my eye. Two of them were for pork chops: One was cooked with apples and served with garlic smashed potatoes, and the other was for pork chops in a red wine reduction, with garlic and lemony green beans. They both sounded really good, but, as I didn’t have any apple cider for the first recipe, I went with the second.

I was happily surprised with the flavor of the chops but, as they were not as thick as the recipe recommended, they were a little more done than I would have liked. I’m going to share the recipe as presented on Food Network with a few additional suggestions. For instance, when we prepare this again, I will cook down the sauce after adding the broth and before adding back the chops to the skillet so it thickens.

Don’t forget the sides

No meal is complete without the side dishes. The recipe for the chops suggested a side of lemony green beans. I love green beans but, we have been eating them a lot lately, and I wanted to jazz up the flavor a bit. The lemon and brown butter did the trick. The beans were delicious and I will serve them again with, or without, the pork chops.

So today, you are going to get a “twofer”. I hope you will try these dishes. Live, Laugh, Love, and Eat Well.

Pork Chops with Wine & Garlic

Courtesy of Ree Drummond and Food Network

Total time about 20 minutes

Serves 4

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in T-Bone pork chops, 1-inch thick (I used boneless about ¾ inch thick)
  • 16 cloves garlic, peeled (I used about 4 TBSP of minced garlic)
  • 1 ½ cups red wine (I used burgundy)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup beef broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil and 2 TBSP butter in a heavy skillet over high heat (I used cast iron). Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and sear them until nice and golden, about 2 minutes on each side. You will complete the cooking later. Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside.

Reduce the heat on the skillet to medium high, then throw in the whole garlic cloves. Stir them around and cook unit they get golden brown, a couple of minutes. (If using minced, the garlic will cook very quickly so keep an eye on it or it will burn). Pour in the red wine, then add the bay leaf. Stir it around and cook, increasing the heat if necessary, until the sauce is reduced and thick, several minutes.

Stir in the broth and add the chops back to the skillet, arranging them so they are swimming in the sauce and allow them to cook several minutes. (If using thinner chops, cook down the broth a bit before adding the chops or they may be over cooked and tough). Add the balsamic vinegar and shake the skillet to distribute., the cook a few more minutes or until the chops are done.

Remove the chops from the skillet once more, then let the sauce reduce a bit more if needed, until it’s very thick and rich and the garlic is soft. Swirl in the remaining 1 TBSP of butter and season with salt and pepper.

Lemony Green Beans

Courtesy of Ree Drummond and Food Network

Total time about 15 minutes

Serves 4

  • 1 LB thin green beans
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • ¼ tsp of Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp of freshly ground black pepper

Snap off the ends of the green beans or use a knife to cut off the ends several at a time.

Heat a pan over a medium high heat and add the butter. (It helps to use a pan with a light-colored bottom so you can see the color change of the butter). Swirl the pan occasionally so the butter cooks evenly. As the butter cooks, it will change color from yellow to toasty brown and have a nutty aroma.

Add the green beans and sauté for 3 to 6 minutes so that the beans take on a little color and are tender. Add the lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper, and transfer to a platter in batches with tongs.

Click Here to download a printable PDF of the recipe for this week!