Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meat And Veg For One

I've extolled the virtues of cooking for yourself before, and the luxury inherent in cooking a dessert for no one but you.  Now it's time to cook yourself a complete, balanced meal.  I realize that this directive sounds a bit fuddy duddy, but there's something exquisitely adult about sitting down to both a meat AND a vegetable (and possibly a carb) that you have prepared for your own consumption.  The ideal combination?  Pork chop and cabbage.  Quick, delicious, and decadent (relatively speaking).

Sauteed Pork Chop

1 center cut pork chop, approximately 1/2 pound (bone in)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt (kosher or Maldon)

Allow pork chop to come up to room temperature.  Use your judgement on the timing here, but the idea is just to get the chill off of the meat so that the outside doesn't burn while the inside remains raw.  Obviously do not to leave it out for hours on end.

Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  

By the way, if you like to cook even a little bit, I highly recommend getting some cast iron cookware if you don't already own some.

Cast iron is actually really cheap...pans like the ones above cost in the $30 range and they last forever.  Literally.  I am currently using a pan from Erie Pennsylvania that my ninety-eight year old grandmother used to use back when she still cooked.  But I digress.

Once pan is heated thoroughly (probably about five minutes) add oil to pan.  While oil is heating up, salt and pepper each side of the pork chop, and place chop in pan.  When a good crust has formed on the chop and it is cooked approximately halfway through, turn.  Once chop is cooked completely (there should be only a faint hint of pink in the middle), remove from pan and let rest for five minutes.  

Note:  Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat, but I generally find that five or six minutes per side will do it.

Sauteed Cabbage

1/4 of a head of cabbage
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon ginger, finely grated
1/4 cup vegetable stock or water
salt to taste

Shred cabbage (I usually just use a knife, but you could do it in a food processor if it's easier).  Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat until foamy, and add caraway seeds.  Saute seeds for fifteen seconds, then add ginger and stir a few times.  Add cabbage, and stir fry for 30 seconds to a minute, taking care not to burn caraway seeds or ginger.  Add stock or water, salt to taste, and cover.  Cook covered for two to three minutes, until cabbage is tender but not mushy.  

Serve alongside your beautiful burnished pork chop (and a roll with butter if you are in the mood for starch) and enjoy in perfect solitude.

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