Friday, February 24, 2012

Fennel & Apple Slaw with Pork Chops

Every family has their standbys and quick go-to meals.  They are part of a rotation.  Thinking back to when I was a kid, I remember hot dog/mac’n’cheese night, taco night and grilled cheese/soup night.  One of my favorite meals that my mom kept in the rotation was pork chops, apple sauce and Rice-A-Roni.  If I want to overanalyze it, I’m sure the roots of the recipe below can be found in that childhood meal.  I wasn’t trying to mimic or recreate it… just thought of it while eating my latest creation.  I’ll wager that this version has a little less sodium than boxed rice and noodles… and a little less sugar than jarred applesauce.  And it has vegetables!  Fennel!  [That’d be the funny looking onion-like bulb that smells faintly of licorice in your produce section.]

Buy and use as many pork chops as you need for this meal.  The slaw portion prepared below makes about 4-6 good sized servings… but then I’ll eat a quarter of a cabbage head in one sitting.

Fennel & Apple Slaw with Pork Chops

What you’ll need:

Food processor with slicing attachment
Large pan/skillet
A good knife


Pork chops
Bacon grease (or your fat of choice, but c’mon…)
2 green apples (I used Granny Smith)
1 fennel bulb, stems removed
1 head of cabbage
Salt and pepper

Starting with the cabbage, cut the head into quarters and trim out the hard core that comes up from the base.  Cut the quarters into pieces that you can feed into your food processor.  Use the slicing blade of your food processor to shred your cabbage.  Using a good knife, cut the fennel bulb into quarters, as well. Similar to the cabbage, there will be a tough core at the base to cut out.  After removing the core, slice the fennel into 1/8 inch thick strips.  As for the apples, keep the skin on, remove the core and cut the “meat” into ¼ inch thick strips. 

Use a large pan or skillet for this recipe.  You’re going to end up with an entire head of shredded cabbage in it… and then some.  Over med-high heat, sauté the fennel in bacon grease until it just starts to become translucent.  Add the apples.  When the apples start to soften (shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes), add in the head of shredded cabbage and stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. The cabbage will start to steam in its own juices and begin to wilt.  Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. 

After a few minutes, when the cabbage is softened enough to your liking, remove it from the pan.  Add a little more bacon grease and cook your pork chops.  There are a dozen different cuts of “pork chop” at the meat counter… and a hundred different opinions on how they should be prepared.  I prefer thin cut pork chops (they cook quickly) cooked medium to medium well.  Hot and fast.

I plate this pairing together by putting a good sized portion of slaw spread across the plate and then resting the chops on top.

Ladies and gentlemen, Fennel & Apple Slaw with Pork Chops.

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