Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pork Chops With Apples and Onions (Hudson Valley Style)

**Sorry about the "off" color of some of the photos. The memory card in my camera was full and I had to use a camera that I'm not as familiar with to take quite a few of the photos.**


We l-o-v-e pork. Yup. We love it in practically all of it's incarnations. Unfortunately, no matter what even the newest studies say, for some reason it continues to have a less than stellar reputation. But, contrary to what some believe, the pork industry's now famous tag-line "pork... it's the other white meat" is actually true. Of course, there are pork products/cuts that are higher in fat, but purchased and prepared with care and attention to detail, pork can truly be a lean, healthy and delicious alternative to chicken or turkey.

I've been making a chicken dish for years that has a deliciously sweet and savory cooked apple and onion topping, sometimes referred to as "Hudson Valley Style".  I looked the term up some time ago and what it means is something that's cooked with apples and onions. Go figure!


No matter what you call it, it's DE-licious. And frankly, I can't think of a better meal to warm the tummy, on these cooler early Fall nights. I've also included the recipes/instructions for the Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes and *Fresh Green Beans cooked in Milk and Butter, that I served with the chops.

Pork Chops With Apples and Onions

  • 4-6 Bone-In Center Cut Rib Chops
  • 2-3 Lg Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Lg Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Applejack Brandy or Apple Cider
  • Chicken Stock or Water
  • "Better Than Bullion" Stock Base
  • 4-6 Tbls Butter
  • Pork Seasoning (**recipe below)
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Black Pepper


**My homemade pork seasoning consists of Kosher Salt, Onion Powder, Sage and a just a little bit of Cinnamon.


About 45 minutes before cooking time, I take the chops out of the fridge, season them liberally with my homemade pork seasoning and a bit of freshly ground Black Pepper. It's important to let refrigerated meat come to room temperature before cooking it, in order to keep it tender and juicy. This also gives any seasonings you're using, a little time to absorb into the meat and give it some depth of flavor.


The Hubbers grilled the chops for me on this particular night, but they can also be broiled, baked or pan fried, with the same end result. Just don't overcook them. The old days of cooking pork until it's like shoe leather are long gone. Pork products today are processed under modern, sanitary conditions and are subject to strict USDA standards for health and safety. Medium well pork is perfectly acceptable.


Cut the apples and onions into 1/4" slices, trying to keep them relatively equal in thickness so they'll cook more evenly. I don't peel my apples because I like both the flavor and texture they add to the dish, but I'll leave that call up to you.


Place 2 to 3 Tbls of butter into a large frying pan over medium heat, until it's melted and just beginning to sizzle a little.


Add in the apples and onions and stir them well to coat with the butter. Continue to cook, over medium to medium high heat until the onions start to get translucent and the apples begin to soften.


This is seriously one of the best things invented in the culinary world! It's so much better than bullion cubes or powders. (just as the name infers - lol) It has less sodium, blends much more easily into sauces and soups and has much better flavor, in my opinion.


It comes in Pork, Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Vegetable and Seafood/Fish versions. In my local grocery store, it's right next to the bullion and broths/stocks. (I've noticed that the Turkey version seems to be available more around holiday time)


Just a little bit of the "Better Than Bullion" goes a long way. Start with a slightly heaping teaspoon and add more, if needed. Remember to always taste your food periodically as your cooking it to check for proper seasoning!


Add about 1/4 Cup of Applejack Brandy to the pan and turn the heat up just a little to help the liquid absorb and reduce a bit. If you don't want to use alcohol, you can substitute with apple cider. Apple juice could be used, but it wouldn't really add the depth of flavor that cider would. But, keep in mind that the alcohol will burn off before it's finished cooking and only the delicious flavor will be left behind.


I add a little water or stock if the liquid evaporates too much or too quickly. You want it to be a little saucy when you spoon it over your chops.


The Grill Master, hard at work.


Remember... You can broil, bake or pan fry your chops if you don't have a grill, or if yours has been put away for the winter.

For the Potatoes:
(I used Yukon Gold Potatoes)



Cut your potatoes into similar sized pieces, place them in a large stockpot filled with cold, generously salted water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down just a little, so that the water is at a slow boil. Cook until fork tender, drain and put the potatoes back into the empty pot.


Add 4 Tbls of butter (yes, half a stick) and 1/2 C of sour cream and smash the potatoes to your desired consistency. Season well with salt and black pepper and keep warm until you're ready to serve them. (a great way to keep mashed or smashed potatoes warm, is to put them in the top portion of a double boiler, over barely simmering water, covered)


I like to leave the skins on and keep small chunks of potato for texture and flavor.

For the Beans:
(*My mother used to prepare fresh green beans this way when I was growing up. She didn't cook them like this often, but oh boy, when she did, I could have eaten the entire bowl, all by my lonesome.)



Place about 2 Cups of Milk, 1 Stick of Butter (yes, 1 whole stick) and a generous amount of Salt and Black Pepper in a saucepan or deep skillet.



Add your trimmed green beans to the pan and bring it all up to a simmer.


Cover the pan and cook the beans in the milk and butter for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they're tender. But, you don't want the beans to be mushy or falling apart.


I made the boo-boo of not paying close enough attention as it was heating up and it started to boil kind of vigorously. This caused the milk and butter mixture to separate a bit, but it didn't affect the flavor at all. They just didn't look as pretty.


A little extra pat of butter for the potatoes and a generous helping of the apples and onions on the chops and you're on your way to comfort food heaven.

Bona Fide Comfort Food
I serve the green beans in a separate bowl so you can get lots of the milk and butter. I know they're probably not the best thing for your arteries, but I only prepare them this way once in a blue moon. They really are a treat. Trust me.


Enjoy!


Mary


I'll be sharing this at these fabulous parties: (Adding the URLs as I link up)

Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Thriving On Thursdays at Domesblissity
Live, Laugh, {Linky} Thursday at Live, Laugh, Rowe
Potpourri Friday at 2805
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted To Recipes
Overflowing With Creativity at It's Overflowing

Week of 10/1

Creative Monday at Clairejustineoxox
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps On The Porch
Wednesday Whatsits at White Lights On Wednesday
Whatcha' Whipped Up at DJ's Sugar Shack
Wow Us On Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
All-Star Block Party at In The Old Road

Week of 10/8/12

Tasteful Tuesdays at Nap Time Creations


Yay! My Chicken Enchilada Lasagna was featured this week at Creative Thursday, hosted by the very sweet Michelle at Michelle's Tasty Creations!


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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chocolate Chip PB and J Bars


Geeesh.... Vacation can definitely throw off your schedule! And that's exactly where I'm at right now. I totally thought that I had plenty of time once we got back, to get my post up for the Get Your Chef On party this month. Yup. I had the date in my head. September 24th, right? I was so ready for this. I had it all figured out. I knew just what I was going to make. I knew I had all of the ingredients on hand. (or did I?) So, I'm checking my email and I see the one that I received from Jen, giving the instructions and codes for the party. And then I saw the date that our recipes were supposed to be posted. What?! Huh? I was supposed to post it.... yesterday?! On the 18th? O-M-G

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Lasagna

If you're at all familiar with me or with this blog, you know that we are definitely fans of Tex Mex and Mexican food and creamy, cheesy, gooey, chicken enchiladas are a definite favorite.


Back in the 90's, there was a local Mexican restaurant that served incredible creamy chicken enchiladas, but the restaurant closed and I missed those bad boys like you wouldn't believe. So, I did what any self respecting food addict would do and came up with my own version. They turned out to be pretty good, (if I do say so myself, lol) but it takes a fair amount of time and busy work to prepare them. (all of that dipping and rolling and messy fingers....)

I knew that if I wanted to continue to satisfy my cravings for this dish, I was going to have to change up the the preparation a bit, so that it wouldn't be so time consuming. The result?? Taaaa-Daaa! Chicken Enchilada Lasagna! Same ingredients... just a different way of putting it all together.



Chicken Enchilada Lasagna
  • 2 Cups Shredded Chicken
  • 1 Pkg (10) 6 inch Flour Tortillas
  • 1 8oz Brick Cream Cheese
  • 1 Small Can Chopped Green Chilies
  • 16 oz Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 2-3 Cups Salsa (homemade or your favorite jarred version)
  • 2 Cups Shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend Cheese
  • Milk or Half & Half

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.

Combine sour cream, cream cheese, green chilies and seasonings in a large non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat, until it comes to a slow bubbling simmer. Stir this mixture frequently as it cooks, to avoid sticking or burning. Add in a little milk or half & half as needed, to keep it somewhat loose. (about the consistency of a gravy) When it's all combined, set it aside to cool while you prep the rest.


In a medium bowl, stir 1 to 1&1/2 cups of the salsa into the shredded chicken. Set aside.




In a casserole dish, spoon in enough of the creamy mixture to just cover the bottom of the dish. Spread it out evenly. (I used a 11 inch oval casserole dish)


Place 3 to 4 of the tortillas on top of the sauce. (Depending on the size and shape of your dish)


Add another layer of the cream cheese/sour cream sauce and spread it out evenly.


Add about 1/3 of the chicken and salsa mixture, then sprinkle the top with a hand full or two of the shredded cheese.


Add another layer of tortillas and continue the process, just as you would with a lasagna, until you've filled the dish, leaving enough of the creamy mixture and shredded cheese for the top.




Spread the last of the sauce and the cheese and bake in a 375 degree pre-heated oven, until it's heated all the way through and lightly browned on the top. (about 35 to 40 minutes, depending on how many layers you end up with)


Allow it to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting it into squares or scooping it out with a spoon.


Serve it with extra salsa and sour cream and a little fresh cilantro or parsley.



Enjoy!


Mary 





You Can Have New Posts From Go Ahead Take A Bite Delivered Right To Your Inbox! Just Enter Your Email Address Here:


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Don't forget that you can print this (or any) recipe using the "Print Friendly" button at the foot of each post. It's a great little feature that allows you to remove any pictures (or any text that isn't relevant to the recipe) before printing. That can save on ink and paper & in today's economy, who doesn't want to save a little cash when you can?!



I'll be linking up with these fabulous parties this week:

Mouthwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale
All-Star Block Party at In The Old Road
Creative Thursday at Michelle's Tasty Creations
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Friday Fun Party at Craftionary
Happy Hour Friday at Happy Hour Projects
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sister's Stuff
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Scrumptious Sunday at Addicted To Recipes

Week of 9/25/12

Mix It Up Monday at Flour Me With Love
Thriving On Thursdays at Domesblissity
Live, Laugh, {Linky} Thursday at Live, Laugh, Rowe
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense
Potpourri Friday at 2805



Thanks!!
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