Unfortunately, I discovered that Freedom Meats (love 'em dearly - don't get me wrong!) doesn't shrink-wrap the individual meat portions. The sausages and hams were shrink-wrapped, but the chops were wrapped (2 per pkg) in butcher paper.
Soooooo... That means I have to "Plan Ahead" now! Perilous Territory, folks... I can barely see past the tip of my nose, most of the time. And just because something sounds good in the morning - doesn't necessarily mean I'm gonna WANT THAT (or have the energy to prepare it), when evening rolls around.
Yeah, I know. Sucks to be me.
Gotta decide in the morning (or worse: A day or two in advance!) if I want to defrost dinner "properly." That's what I like about Omaha Steaks, actually. You just open the freezer, decide 'hmm, a sirloin sounds good,' pop that shrink-wrapped hunk o' goodness in a sink full of cold water and half an hour later, you're Good-To-Go to fire-up the grill! (OTOH, I'm pretty sure Omaha Steaks aren't open-range raised, nor sprinkled with Pixie Dust. They're probably factory-farmed, knee-deep-in-sh*t, feedlot steaks - something I am SLOWLY try to move away from, k?! Baby steps!)
Annnnnyyyyhooooooo... I consulted Google to find a suitable pork chop recipe. I wanted to "Keep It Simple, Stupid." I also wanted to minimize the amount of sauces/seasonings/fancy-shmantzy-sh*t because I want to TASTE the Goodness that is Spreckles!
Here is the recipe I followed - pretty-much/almost to the letter (:::GASP:::).
Okay-okay, I futzed around with it a TEENY bit!
Spreckle's Debut: Baked, Glazed Pork Chops
Yields 4 pork chops
- 4 pork chops (mine are bone-in, medium thickness)
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic (Campbell's)
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 lb fresh white mushrooms
- 1 large onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- Generous sprinkling of onion powder
- Light sprinkling of garlic powder
- Light sprinkling of celery salt
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup Marsala wine (the regular stuff, not salted cooking wine)
- 1/2 cup Crema Casera or heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup water
- French-fried onions (appx 1/2 - 1 cup)
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375*
- Coarsely chop your onions, celery and mushrooms. Finely mince your garlic. Set aside.
- Season your chops with garlic powder (a little), onion powder (lots!), celery salt (medium amt), and pepper (your preference!).
- Heat a medium saucepan with a little olive oil and butter and saute 1 clove of garlic, your onions and celery on medium heat. Stir and add a little salt. Cook until the veggies are limp and translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet with appx 1/2 TBS butter and 1/2 TBS olive oil. Add one clove of minced garlic and - once it's hot (but before the butter burns), add you chops to sear them. Reduce heat to medium and cook until brown on the outside (appx 10 mins). Set the chops on a plate.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine. Cook on medium low, scraping up all the crusty goodness in the pan. Continue cooking and stirring 'til it thickens slightly and becomes a runny glaze.
- Return the chops to the pan, increase heat to medium and turn the chops several times until covered nicely with the glaze (maybe another 5 minutes? I didn't count!). Then remove the chops and place 'em in a casserole dish (I think mine is a 1-1/2 quart).
- Next: Dump your cream of garlic/mushroom soup into your skillet and blend it with the remaining glaze. Add water and cream and mix some more. Add your chopped mushrooms and your pre-sauteed celery/onion mix. Cook on medium-low for maybe 5 minutes (you just want to warm it up).
- Pour the soupy glazy veggie-y mix over your chops in the casserole dish. Turn the chops so they get completely coated and buried in the sauce.
- Cook, uncovered, for appx 45 minutes. Everything should be nice and bubbly (but the topside veggies might be a little crispy). Remove the casserole dish, stir it up a little (get the crispy top-stuff incorporated into the gravy). Add a couple handfuls of French-Fried Onions and return to the oven for 10 minutes 'til the FF onions are brown and crispy.
Annnnndddd... Spreckles is now OUT of the oven - and in our bellehs!
Yeah, Crappy Droid Pic - I was *hungry* dammit!
Spreckles was tender and delicious! I served her with mashed potatoes (using the sauce as gravy), mixed veggies and "baked" apples (actually nuked apple spice mixture that didn't make it into yesterday's pie!).
Hubbie agreed, Spreckles is, indeed, a Very Good Pig! Waaaay better than grocery-store pork! Tender and lean. In fact, I'll make sure I post a picture of the BACON (Mmmm! Bacon!) whenever I pull it out of the freezer. Hardly ANY fat!
While Spreckles was in the oven, I Googled a bit further and discovered that you can pretty much type in "Pork" + [Any Kind of Fruit] and find a recipe! And I have a garage FULL of various fruit jams and - did I happen to mention - a freaking FREEZER full of piggie?!
So yeah, I think I may have found a use for some of those jams I put-up all summer, hmmm?! In fact, I think that THIS recipe might actually be a good "launching point" for other creations. Start with the same base ingredients (tweaking, as necessary), and maybe swap out the type of wine to better accompany some kinda fruity-jammy sauce. Say apricot jam and apricot brandy (instead of Marsala wine)...??? Yep, sounds like there might be some Experimentation in my future (Eeeeek!).