My day was so busy I didn’t think too much about dinner until it was time to make it. I would have to make do with whatever was available in my kitchen, as I wasn’t in the mood to go grocery shopping. The only protein I had was pork chops, and after that, the fridge looked a little like old Mother Hubbard’s pantry:bare!
What saves me at moments like this is the fact that I always have onions on hand, and a supply of herbs in the backyard. That would have been enough to work with, but I also discovered a big can of crushed tomatoes and so settled on a rich red sauce. What made it rich was the cup of red wine I added to the mix. I had some red wine and was looking for an excuse to use it for something other than drinking it (too fruity for my plate). It worked perfectly.
The sauce is something that could easily stand alone, (without the meat) and would work great for a lasagna or a nice alternative for a marinara sauce.
So you see, you can make something seriously good without too many ingredients. All you need are the basics, and winging the rest can be fun.
You will need:
6 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
6 Rib-end pork loin chops
2 large sweet onions, large dice
2 celery ribs, diced (including leaves)
6 fresh oregano sprigs
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
1 cup red wine
1 cup water
2 tsp sea-salt (I used Maldon sea-salt flakes)
several grinds black pepper
Preheat oven 450*
1 – Prep all veggies. Season chops with salt and several grinds of pepper. Place big saute pan on high heat and add about 3 tbs of the oil. When it is hot add pork chops in single layer, and sear on both side until golden brown. Add oil as necessary and continue to cook meat until everything is seared, transferring to a plate as you go.
2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions, and celery. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3 – Add oregano and continue to cook for another 3 minutes.
4 – Add wine and turn heat to high. Let the liquid bubble for about 3 minutes (the wine will reduce and intensify).
5 – Add the crushed tomatoes and water, and bring mixture to a bubble. Turn off heat and add pork chops to the sauce in an even a layer as possible (there will be some overlapping, which is fine)
6 – Cover with lid and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes to rest and cool down.
Serve with whatever you have on hand: it is good with rice, pasta, potatoes, romaine leaves or even by itself.