Strawberry Leek Quesadillas

Strawberries and leeks? Yes, that’s right. An unlikely pairing perhaps, but one that totally works. I am more than a little amped to stockpile fresh strawberries and use them in new and interesting ways, like this.

Strawberries are one of the first fruits of the season in VT and young, tender leeks should start hitting the market. If you can’t find leeks just yet, try any other mild onion. Scallions or chives could work well here.

Find out which farms offer pick your own strawberries. It’s a good opportunity to get out there and enjoy a sunny day. Our Valley Food & Farm Guide can point you in the right direction.

You’ll want to slice, wash and then chop your leeks. While making these for high school students a couple weeks ago, I was shocked that almost none of them could describe a leek! Though I wonder if I could at that age, either…

Then saute them down until they’re soft and slightly browned. Meanwhile, start slicing the strawberries.

Get your cheese, cilantro and black pepper ready to go. Making a quesadilla is kind of like making a stir fry – you want everything ready to get in the pan at about the same time.

Side note: I recommend sticking with a quick melting, gooey cheese like mozzarella. I tried goat cheese and found it hardly melted down. I then tried cheddar and there wasn’t that beautiful binding quality either.

Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil, heat the pan to high heat, then add, in this order: one tortilla, the cheese, the cooked leeks, the strawberries, the cilantro, pepper and second tortilla. Cook about 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula and cook the other side another 3 minutes or so, until the tortilla is nicely browned and the cheese is melted.

Combine with a salad and you’ve got yourself a quick dinner.

Strawberry and Leek Quesadillas

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 + quesadillas

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, light green and white portion only
  • A handful of rinsed and hulled strawberries
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Slice your leek in half lengthwise. Thoroughly rinse the layers then thinly slice into small pieces.
  2. Saute the leek in a little olive oil over medium heat. Cook until soft and slightly browned.
  3. While the leeks cook, slice the strawberries.
  4. Get all of the ingredients ready to go.
  5. Heat a clean pan with just a slight coating oil. Then add the ingredients in this order: tortilla, cheese, cooked leeks, strawberries, cilantro, pepper and second tortilla.
  6. Cook the first side for 3 minutes. Flip with a large spatula and cook the second side for another 3 minutes. The tortillas should be nicely browned and cheese completely melted.
  7. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Recipe adapted from Sprouted Kitchen.

How To Grill Veggies: Tips and a Few Recipes

We certainly got lucky this past Saturday. Despite the very un-summer like weather we’ve been having, the sun was actually shining. And the deliciously grown foods available at that morning’s market were just waiting to hit the grill. With the expertise of guest chef Randal Smathers, we set up at Rutland’s newest community garden (The Northwest Garden located on the corner of Park and Baxter streets) and demonstrated to neighbors and passersby to how easy and tasty it is to grill fresh vegetables.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the event was that almost anything can be grilled. Tomatoes, peppers, squashes, onions, snap peas, fennel and corn were just a few items we used with a degree of success. We don’t suggest grilling rhubarb, however – though it was a fun experiment.

Here are a few of Randal’s grilling tips:

  • Oil the grill – not the veggies. This prevents burning and an unpleasant oily taste. When oiling the grill, do so just lightly and apply with a paper towel. It’s also important to make sure the grill is well cleaned beforehand.
  • It’s much easier to grill the veggies first, then chop. Smaller pieces are more difficult to control when on the grill and it’s easy to lose them down the grates.
  • Pay attention to the grill. Foods can cook pretty quick, especially veggies, and it doesn’t take long for something to burn.

And here’s what we made:

Grilled Veggie Salad. There’s really no recipe for this one. Just grill up your favorite mix of vegetables, slice and toss together with just a little olive oil, salt and any fresh herbs you have on hand.

 

Grilled Salsa

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion, halved and papery outside skin removed
  • 2 medium – hot peppers (your preference)
  • small bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • lime juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Soak the ears of corn in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the grill to high heat and lightly coat the crates with olive oil.
  3. Place the corn, tomatoes, onion and peppers on the grill, intact.
  4. Cook until everything is slightly charred.
  5. Let cool a couple of minutes before handling and then remove the corn husks, tomato stem and outer layer of skin on the peppers and onions.
  6. Slice the corn off the cob, chop the onions, peppers, tomatoes and the cilantro.
  7. Toss everything together in a large bowl with some salt, a glug of oil and a splash of lime juice, and a couple dashes of hot sauce, if using.
Grilled Veggie Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 +

You can use any combo of fresh veggies and herbs here. Try it as a side to meat or main dish tossed with pasta. If you already have grilled veggies leftover, you can put this together in just a couple of minutes.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of mixed grilled veggies sliced into medium sized pieces
  • 1 cup of fresh herbs, chopped (use your favorite mix of summer herbs)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon grill seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Eggplant Curry

Eggplant is one of those foods, like summer squash, I often hear people say they don’t like. And, as usual, I tell them that they just haven’t had it prepared well. On it’s own, without any seasoning, eggplant can indeed be a little tasteless and bitter. But that’s exactly why we need to know how to handle and prepare this nightshade veggie for maximum flavor and health benefits – like the ton of fiber and manganese it contains. And, when done well, eggplant can rival the taste and texture of chicken – making it a vegetarian favorite.

I recommend peeling your eggplant, especially if it is a larger variety like Black Magic – the most common kind you’ll find in the United States, pictured at left in the first photo above – and especially if it is not at it’s peak freshness.

It’s often said you should salt eggplant and let it sit for 30 minutes or so in order for the water, and bitterness, to be released. I say go for it – if you have the time and have planned ahead. I often don’t. Having tried it both ways, I can’t say I see a significant difference in the end, especially in a dish like this.

Note: Since I had quite a few eggplants to get through when I took these photos, you’ll notice they did start to brown. But I wasn’t worried because they cooked in the curry sauce and no one ever noticed. 

Start with some garlic. Brown it just slightly in a medium sized pan with some olive oil for a couple of minutes. Then add in the eggplant and a few pinches of salt. You want to cook the eggplant, stirring often, until it starts to release some liquid, 5-10 minutes.

Next, in goes the curry powder, ginger and coconut milk. I’m a big fan of coconut milk sold in cartons like this. I use it for everything from plain drinking to smoothies to cooking. However, when coconut milk is called for in a recipe, it’s probably referring to the heavier, richer kind you’ll find in cans. I recommend keeping a few of these cans, found in the international section of your grocery store, on hand at all times. They’re shelf stable. The cartons are not. But the carton works for a lighter flavor, and if you’ll use it up like regular milk.

Keep simmering the eggplant for a good 25 minutes or more. Taste it as you go and see how it’s tasting. You’ll know it’s done cooking when it melts in your mouth. Adjust the seasoning as needed and throw in the remaining garlic just before finishing. And it’s good to go!

Want to add peppers? Onions? Or other veggies? Feel free to add them in when you add the eggplant. I kind of like the simplicity of the eggplant though.

 

Eggplant Curry

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Place oil and 1/2 of the garlic in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Two minutes later add the eggplant and a couple pinches of salt.
  3. Stir and toss constantly until after 5 or 10 minutes the eggplant begins to release some of the oil it has absorbed. Add in the curry powder/paste, coconut milk and ginger.
  4. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until eggplant is tender, about 30 minutes. About five minutes before it is done add the remaining garlic. Season. Garnish and serve over rice or another grain.

eggplant curry

Puréed Turnips

Imagine the silkiest, smoothest mashed potatoes you’ve ever had. Rich, creamy and lump free. Got it? Well that’s exactly what pureed veggies are like. They appear somewhat fancy and are found all the time in upscale restaurants. But they’re really just as simple as mashed potatoes, if not more so. I don’t think they require the embellishments mashed potatoes sometimes need to reach that perfect consistency.

turnip

You can use the same technique for all kinds of root vegetables. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are obvious choices, but also consider rutabaga, celeriac, beets, squash, carrots and turnips. Mix and match if you’d like.

1 1/2 pounds of turnips are good for about four people. But since I like leftovers, I went with slightly more and added in a few potatoes. I was serving this at a dinner for someone I know isn’t a big turnip lover. So I’m thinking he might not even notice the difference with the potato in there. I’ve replaced up to half of the potatoes in mashed potatoes with turnips at Thanksgiving dinner before, and no one k Just a hint, if you need it.

While I often just keep the skins on root veggies like turnips, for a smooth purée you do need to peel. A note about turnips: there are both small, spring varieties that come with their greens attached, and then the larger, heartier winter variety without greens, which is the kind you’ll find this time of year.

Chop the turnips into one inch pieces. We’re going to boil them and the smaller the pieces the quicker they’ll cook.

Here are the potatoes I added to fool that friend of mine.

boil turnips

 Here’s a trick for a richer purée – boil the turnips with milk. I use about 3/4 water and 1/4 milk. You just need enough to cover the veggies. Boil until turnips are easily pierced with a knife, about 15-20 minutes. If you do use milk, be sure to lower the heat to a simmer or the liquid could boil over. (Though I find the wooden spoon trick works well.

When done, drain and keep a bit of the cooking liquid just in case you need it. If you prefer, you could mash rather than purée, but if you have yourself an immersion blender these couldn’t be easier. Just give it a few whirls and you’ve got yourself puréed turnips. Unlike mashed, I didn’t see the need for an addition of cream or butter. Though a swirl of olive oil over top was just right. And if they aren’t working out well, slowly work in the cooking liquid.

Use puréed veggies like this as a bed for burgers, meatballs, cuts of meat, green veggies like broccoli or asparagus or even as a sauce, condiment or dip. Get creative.

pureed tunips

Puréed Turnips

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and cubed turnips, potato and turnip mix or any other hearty root veggie
  • 1 cup milk
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, cover the turnips with the milk and just enough water to cover.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat then lower to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
  3. Drain the turnips, saving some of the cooking liquid in the process.
  4. Use an immersion blender or food processor to purée the turnips. Taste, add salt to your liking, a little cooking liquid, if needed, and a swirl of oil over the top.

Kale and Coconut Salad

Happy December, folks. With cookie fests and holiday parties in full blast it’s all too easy to indulge a bit too much. I believe we should enjoy these times without feeling overly guilty and yet, without waiting until next month to eat smarter. And yes, that is actually possible. Sometimes you just need to leave well enough alone – your grandmother’s pecan pie, perhaps – but there are other times we can eat a little wiser while keeping in mind the foods still available to us locally during the colder months..

Hence, the kale and coconut salad. As you might have heard, kale and coconut are two powerful health foods of late we should all consider incorporating more of into our diets.

Kale, an excellent winter green, makes a great salad base while the more fragile greens are out of commission. With just 33 calories per cup and high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Potassium, it’s no wonder it has it’s own marketing campaign.

Coconut, on the other hand, is equally as impressive. Coconut products – water, oil, milk, flour and even sugar – are beloved by food the health conscious in recent times, despite the high amount of saturated fat. Turns out, saturated fat, in moderation, may actually be good for us – helping do to things like lower bad cholesterol levels while improving the good. Coconut also contains a ton of fiber and a fair amount of minerals and b vitamins. The form in which you eat coconut regulates the degree of nutrition, however, so keep that in mind. For the salad, look for it unsweetened, dried and shredded or flaked.

It takes no time to put this together, making it great to work onto your dinner plate or bring to a holiday party in place of an out of season, less fresh, and nutritious garden salad. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks – Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson – I highly recommend checking it and her blog out.

Use any kind of kale, but I like the curly variety – which adds a good amount of crunchy texture after baking. Just rinse, then tear the leaves off the stems and into small to medium sized pieces. You’ll be left with the stalks, which you can save in the freezer for your next pot of stock.

Toss in a bowl with the coconut and some olive oil, sesame oil and soy sauce or tamari.

Then spread it out over two baking sheets.

And put it in an oven preheated to 350F for 15-20 minutes, checking about halfway through. You want to bake it until the kale is crunchy and the coconut golden brown.

You can toss together with some more dressing at this point and serve. If you like kale chips, you’ll really enjoy this salad – great as a side or topped with your favorite protein.

Kale and Coconut Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4-6, as a side

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups kale, torn and removed from the stem
  • 1 cup shredded or flaked, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a small jar, shake together the oils and tamari/soy sauce.
  3. Toss the dressing with kale and coconut in a large bowl.
  4. Spread the salad out onto two large baking sheets.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, checking and stirring about halfway through. Kale should be crispy and coconut golden brown. Toss with additional dressing if you’d like and serve warm or at room temp. Best enjoyed the day it’s made.

Put an Egg on It: Make it a Meal with a Fried Egg

Happy 2014! I hope you had a fun new years!

The start of a new year is a great time to check basic cooking techniques – even those as basic as frying an egg. I eat eggs quite often and my favorite method, until recently, was scrambling. While I’ll always love scrambled eggs, and think I’ve mastered that cooking method, I’ve found them less conducive to constructing a meal.

But fried eggs are another story. You can put a fried egg on almost anything – even just a piece of toast – and find yourself with a pretty satisfying meal. I mean, if Buzzfeed says so, it must be true, right?

The problem was that my fried eggs were inconsistent and that’s exactly why I avoided making them. Sometimes they were overcooked and nearly burnt while other times I’d find them partly raw. And I’m not sure what the issue was, because after consulting several cookbooks, it turns out that everyone has their favorite method for achieving the “perfect” fried egg.

Turns out that you can make a decent fried egg either with butter or oil. High heat or low. Preheating the pan or using a cool pan. Yikes. Too many options!

Luckily, after several successful repetitions, I found a method that works for me in Jamie Oliver’s Food RevolutionI’ve also found this technique referred to as the Spanish method for frying an egg. It’s a gentle cooking method done in oil that results in a soft, silky egg that I’ll be so bold as to say is perfect. If you’ve found yourself disappointed with how your fried eggs are turning out, I say give this a try.

Start by heating your frying pan to medium heat and giving it a good coating of olive oil. We want to eggs to sit in the oil, but not swim. Let the pan heat for a couple of minutes. Of course, farm fresh eggs are always going to give the best result.

Crack your eggs into the pan. As the oil heats your eggs will slowly start to cook. You don’t want to oil to be popping, so if this happens quickly lower the heat.

When mostly white, spoon some of the oil over top to help the egg cook evenly.

I’ve found that the time to the perfect fried egg is about 5 minutes. Maybe this will be less for you, or maybe more – it all depends on how you like your eggs.

Once you have found your perfect fried egg – and this method may not be for you – consider how you could use it to create meal or how you could take a boring dish to the next level.

On toast is just fine.

Or how about on a bed of greens?

Pasta?

Leftover cooked veggies?

But no one will blame you if you eat it all alone.

 

And don’t get caught up in the egg controversy. Most experts agree these days that eggs are your friend.

Bubble & Squeak

Funny British name. One simple dish. A combination of lightly fried cabbage and mashed potatoes, bubble and squeak is so easy peasy that you can make it completely with leftovers. If you fancy stretching your dollar and see your extra food put to use than tossed in the rubbish, this is the food for you. No leftovers? You can, of course, prepare mashed potatoes and saute up some cabbage and then assemble your bubble and squeak.

If you don’t have cabbage, like this beautiful crinkly savoy here, many other greens can work. Spinach, kale, or bok choy are some good alternatives available now.

Whether already cooked or not, we need the cabbage in small strips to easily mix with the potatoes. Take the leaves, stack them together and roll them up. Slice into strips. If not cooked already, saute in a little oil until tender.

As for potatoes, we want them mashed. If you don’t already have these ready to go, peel and cut the potatoes and boil them until tender. Mash and season as you like. If leftover, you’ll want to heat them with a little butter to soften up.

When the cabbage and potatoes are both ready to go – which, if you made this the day after a roast dinner you could have both readily available – mix them together. Your first time making bubble and squeak, start with equal parts cabbage and potato to see how you like the ratio. You might find you’d like a greater percentage of cabbage next time.

Season with salt, pepper, butter and nutmeg to your liking and give it all a good mix. Add in whatever other leftovers you see fit. If you did make this with your leftover roast ingredients, chopped pieces of meat would be a nice addition. On the other hand, so would chopped cooked broccoli or carrots. Whatever you do – don’t be afraid to make it your own.

Take a serving size of the bubble and squeak mixture and flatten into the bottom of a frying pan coated with butter. A metal spatula will make the job easy. You could make your bubble and squeak into small cakes, or one large piece, depending on if you intend to serve as a main dish or side.

If you think your bubble and squeak has to look perfect, that’s bollocks. It may very well fall apart and that’s just fine. To get a nice browning, cook slowly over low heat and listen. Do you hear it bubbling and squeaking? Yeah, that’s how this dish got its name – from the noise it makes when cooking. Flip and brown the other side when ready.

And Bob’s your uncle! Top with sour cream, yogurt, ketchup – whatever you’d like. A large piece of bubble and squeak, with or without a green salad, is a quick, filling dinner on these cold evenings. Grab a cider and dig in. Cheers!

Lemon Rosemary Sunchoke Pasta

It’s time for a little English lesson.

Restive. Irregardless. Superfluous. Jerusalem artichoke. What do these words have in common? They sound like they mean one thing, yet are actually something altogether different. The English language is full of such confusion, if you think about it. And guess what? Jerusalem artichokes are neither from Jerusalem or are even artichokes. Why they have the name they do is a bit of a mystery.

sunchoke

 

So what are these tubular, ginger looking things? Let’s start with taste. They’re earthy, sweet and a bit nutty. You won’t find the starch, like in a potato, and they don’t quite cook up the same way either. It’s more complex of a flavor and in my opinion, only slightly comparable to the taste of an artichoke. Though they grow easy enough (almost like a weed), they remain somewhat unknown or unpopular, but I think they’re worth giving a shot.

It might seem strange, but they’re actually the tuber of a sunflower. Their blossoms tend to turn towards the sun, like a sunflower and that’s why I like to refer to them as one of their more fitting, alternate names – sunchokes. Locally, you’ll find them grown by Heleba Potato Farm of Center Rutland.

Lemon Rosemary Sunchoke Pasta

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • 1 lb sunchokes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 springs rosemary leaves, chopped
  • splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

This was my first time cooking sunchokes and knowing that they cook up somewhat quickly, I used them for a fast pasta dinner. You can use any pasta you like or even a grain. Barley is a good option.

washing sunchokes

Start a pot of well salted water for the pasta and wash the sunchokes by rinsing in water and scrubbing with a clean towel. They’re too knobby for efficient peeling.

Slice the sunchokes somewhat thinly across, along with one onion, and saute in oil over medium high heat, stirring often. By the time the water is boiling and you add in your pasta, you can also add the zest of one lemon, two minced garlic cloves and two springs of chopped rosemary to the sunchokes and onions and continue cooking. You’ll find that the sunchokes won’t cook evenly and this is normal.

When the pasta is al dente, drain and reserve 2 cups of the cooking water. If using the wine, pour into the sunchoke pan and stir to deglaze.

Either way, add about a a cup and a half of the reserved pasta water to the sunchoke pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce then toss in the pasta, the butter and stir to coat. Taste and adjust salt, if needed. Save the remaining pasta water and use when reheating any leftovers.

sunchokes and pasta

Gado Gado: An Indonesian Salad

You probably don’t need another salad recipe. That’s why I’m sharing a salad idea. Gado Gado, which translates to “mix mix,” is made up of surprisingly ordinary ingredients – raw or cooked vegetables, greens, eggs, tofu or tempeh, and peanut sauce are typical.
But with variations throughout Indonesia, there is no one way to prepare the dish or a set list of ingredients to adhere to. In fact, Gado Gado is one of the most popular dishes in Indonesia and I’m betting that’s because of the versatility. Or maybe because it’s just a great way to toss together leftovers.

Gado Gado: An Indonesian Salad

Ingredients

For the salad:
    • Greens
    • Cooked rice
    • Your choice of vegetables, either raw or cooked or a mix of both – such as broccoli, beans, cabbage, snow peas, carrots, or sprouts
    • Protein – tofu, tempeh, eggs, shredded chicken or pork
    • Peanut sauce
For the peanut sauce:
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp.soy sauce
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • Salt, if needed

pbsauce

However, a good peanut sauce is at the heart of Gado Gado. It’s probably the one thing you need to pay attention to here. I referenced Mollie Katzen’s recipe in The New Moosewood Cookbookthough based on other peanut sauces I’ve made, the ingredients here are pretty standard.

Just combine peanut butter with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, water and red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor until smooth.

What I love about peanut sauces is that they encompass so many of our basic tastes – sweet, sour, salty, umami and maybe even a little bitter. It could be why I could put the sauce on almost anything.

Play with the ratios of these ingredients to make the sauce flavored to your liking. It’s easy to up the red pepper, for instance, and transform it into a really spicy peanut sauce if that’s what your feeling. Or increase the sugar for a sweet version. Experiment and customize it to the food you’re putting it on.

I’ve also seen peanut sauces amplified with coconut milk, fish sauce and/or lime juice. You could try adding these in too, but I think the ingredients listed here make a good start.

I used Katzen’s idea here by adding 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric to the rice as it cooked (2 cups rice simmered in 3 cups water until tender, adding more water, if need). The turmeric adds some color, a little flavor, and all of those health claims people are raving about lately. Interestingly, it’s dubbed the poor man’s saffron.

Then add your vegetables to the plate. I quickly steamed snow peas, carrots, and shiitakes. Be creative in your combo and if you prefer a crunch, skip the cooking and enjoy them raw. Next goes the protein. I luckily found a hard boiled egg left in the fridge and I was content with just that. Tofu and tempeh are popular in Gado Gado, though I don’t see why shredded chicken or pork couldn’t work either. If you have it, use it. If you want it, cook it up or go get it. You can put as much or as little effort into this dish and as long as your peanut sauce is good, I don’t see how you can go wrong.

gado

Finally, drizzle on the peanut sauce. Don’t skimp. Toss, or perhaps I should say mix, it all together. If you want, throw on a topping. I chose pea shoots, but chopped peanuts could work or how about some fresh herbs? And that folks, is all there is to Gado Gado.

Braised Pork Chops and Turnips

It seems the sun is having a difficult time finding its way to Vermont this spring. And while I’d rather be cooking out on a grill, the perpetual dreariness still has me inside and largely using produce from last season. And that’s alright. But I did finally dig up my garden and plant a few seeds this week and I’m happy about that.

While I’m over the filling stew-like dishes of winter, I like the simplicity of these pork chops and turnips. They’re browned and simmered in one pan and aside from a minimal sauce, don’t need much else. It reminded me of how much I enjoy the combination of braised meat and vegetables. It’s a good technique to know. The particular kind or cut of meat can change, and any root vegetable would work here too.

Braised Porkchops and Turnips

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 – 1 inch thick, bone in pork chops
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound turnips or rutabaga, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 cup white wine, chicken stock, or cider
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Let your pork chops come to room temperature for a few minutes. This helps the meat cook evenly in the pan. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.

Pre-heat a saute pan over medium high heat for a minute or two. Preheating is important, so don’t skip it. Add your oil and let that get hot as well. Both of these steps will help the pork chop, or any piece of meat, in browning. Also, be sure to give the meat plenty of space in the pan.

Let the meat sear, without disturbing, about 3-4 minutes on each side. The meat should sizzle when it hits the pan. If oil starts flying out, cover the pan for a minute and lower the heat a little.We’re not looking to fully cook the pork in this step, just get a nice browning.

When both sides are browned, remove the chops from the pan, set aside, and add in the chopped turnips.

turnips

Then add in the liquid, 2 tablespoons of parsley, butter and brown sugar. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove anything that might have stuck during browning.Cover, let the turnips simmer for 10-15 minutes, until almost tender, then add the pork chops back in.

The chops should be sitting in the liquid, add a little more if this is not the case, and put the cover back on the pan. simmer for another 5 minutes or so, until the pork is cooked through (at about 145F) and the turnips are completely tender.

pork chop1

Portion the turnips on two plates, top each with a pork chop, juice from the pan and the remaining parsley.

1 2 3