Mediterranean Pork Chops

I didn’t intend on making Mediterranean-style pork chops but, after scanning through the pantry and refrigerator, I found several items that needed to be used before they passed their prime and spoiled.  I know this isn’t an elegant way to kick off a food blog post but, it’s the truth, and as a simple home cook, I know there’s plenty of cooks out there that have felt the painful guilt that comes when they discover that their grocery store purchases have rotted away, untouched and ignored. 

Let’s take a look at our middle-aged cast of characters, shall we?

One pound of small yellow and red potatoes, about three weeks old. 

4 small poblano chiles, fresh from my neighbor’s garden – two weeks ago!

3 tomatoes, picked pipe from my garden, a week ago.

½ red onion that must have been two weeks old.

A lemon, that held up surprisingly well for two weeks in the refrigerator.

Two pounds of bone-in pork chops, that passed the smell test after 7 days in the refrigerator.

Once I gathered the aging actors together for this ensemble, I brought in a young, vibrant supporting cast including, fresh garlic, Kalamata olives, and green and black olives.

Ingredients:

4 Tbs. olive oil, divided

4 garlic cloves

1 ½ – 2 lbs. pork chops

½ cup water

1 lemon, sliced into ¼” thick circles

¼ cup wine (red or white)

1 lb. small potatoes (mix of yellow and red)

½ red onion, chopped

4 small poblano chiles

3 medium, ripe tomatoes, chopped

1/3 cup Kalamata olives

1/3 cup black olives

1/3 cup green olives

Directions:

Mash the garlic cloves.

Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large, oven-proof skillet.  Set heat to low. Add the garlic and simmer for a few minutes.

Remove the bones from the pork chops.  (I only did this because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fit all of the pork chops in the skillet unless I removed the bones.) Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper.

Add the pork chops to the skillet and turn heat to medium high.  Sear the pork chops for a few minutes and turn them over to sear the other side.

Remove the pork chops and garlic and set aside.

Add about ½ cup of water to the pan and deglaze by whisking.  Add wine and simmer at medium heat for two minutes. 

Add the lemon slices to the skillet.  Reduce the sauce, while stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Remove the sauce to a bowl and set aside.

Wipe the skillet, to remove any remaining sauce.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add potatoes and toss, to thoroughly coat the potatoes with oil.  Season with black pepper and salt.  Toss again and bake in the uncovered skillet in a 350° oven for 40 minutes. 

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and pour the potatoes into a large bowl.

Add the seared pork chops and garlic back to the skillet. 

Cover the pork chops with the potatoes.

Add a pinch of oregano to the chopped tomatoes and toss gently.

Add the chopped onion, tomatoes, chiles and lemon slices.

Top with olives.

Bake 30 minutes in a 350° oven.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven and place arrange the ingredients on a large serving platter. 

One final thought: The only thing worse than throwing away perfectly good food that is reaching the end of its life expectancy is serving food that has gone bad or spoiled.  If it smells bad, looks bad, feels bad, or tastes bad, it’s bad.  Toss it and move on with your life!  Your friends and family will thank you.

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