Wish Upon A Dish: Extreme Budget, Day Fifteen - Italian Pork Chops

December 2, 2012

Extreme Budget, Day Fifteen - Italian Pork Chops

I was hoping to get to my grill today, but the snow has not melted and it will only hit 43°. As much as I love to grill and as much as pork chops scream "grill me" it ain't gonna happen today. Yes, I could freeze them for Sunday but I am not a fan of freezing bone-in chops.

I will use my grill pan and make a really good pan sauce. I have been wanting to make some sort of an Italian version of a sweet/tangy/savory mixture of peppers and onions that uses balsamic vinegar. I bought a bottle of really good aged Balsamico when I was in Florence and we all know vinegars are very healthy for digestion and glucose control.
I had 6 pee-wee potatoes left in cold storage and asparagus I will add right at the end.

A good cold winter night's meal. Those spring rolls might just make an appearance next spring at this rate.

Right now in a plastic container I have three chops in a mixture of sweet ice tea mix and salt. I always use a less sugar sweet tea ice tea mix in my brine and yes, you can taste the tea. In the south they brine their fried chicken in sweet tea and I now do the same to everything I brine, even shrimp.

The ingredient list for this dish is sparse and could almost qualify for a 5 ingredient fix. You could use chicken but buy the ones with the bones and roasted everything in one pan.

Since this post is mostly about the topping, I need to warn you that bottled hot peppers are very hot and so is the brine that they are stored in. I only used 3 small pepperoncini and even though I seeded and de-veined them, I should have rinsed them. I am not a wimp when it comes to hot stuff but my mouth was on fire and I honestly could not finish this dish. Next time I make a version of this I will use pickled jalapenos.
Other than the heat, it was full of flavor and The Nudge enjoyed that last blast of vinegar at serving.

If your balsamic is inexpensive, you might want to boil down to half before using.

Grilled Pork Chops with Peppers, Onions and Potatoes
makes enough to serve 4
* 4 pork chops with rib bone attached
* 1 large red onion, quartered with stem end intact (I used half sweet, half red)
* 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon EVOO
* dozen pee-wee potatoes, cut in half
* 6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
* 1 jar roasted red peppers
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 6 peppadew, banana peppers or pepperoncini, julienned
* Course sea salt
* Aged balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375°.
1. Place potatoes and onion quarters on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Toss to coat.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Add peppers and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix well.
2. Bake for 10 more minutes and remove from oven. Scrape everything into a bowl and add the red pepper flakes. DO AHEAD TO THIS POINT, COVER AND CHILL UP TO ONE DAY.
3. Brush chops with oil and season with salt & pepper.
4. Heat grill pan till very hot about 5 minutes.
5. Grill for about 5 minutes per side. Remove and tent with foil.
6. Add asparagus to grill pan and cook for 2 minutes on high heat. Add potato and pepper mixture to pan, stir to combine flavors and reheat.
7. Place one chop on each plate and spoon 1/4 of the vegetable mixture over top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with additional sea salt.

Cost for this meal: $8.12
Pork chops - $6.67
Onion - $ .55
Asparagus - $ .90
This was a splurge meal but I am still on track.
Running total for 15 days: $53.87

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