Wednesday, November 18, 2009

on the menu: 11-18-09

i just figured out a new regular feature i can do when inspiration (or time) is lacking--tell you what i'm eating for dinner! thrilling for some, mind-numbing for others.

tonight i will be out knitting so i need to have something warm and ready when blake gets home to feed three kids solo. sounds like a split pea soup situation with some tasty kids-will-love-it protein on the side.

simple split pea soup:

(there are never any leftover of this in our house, the kids go nuts for it)


  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 cups green split peas
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 6 ounces diced ham, or cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in carrot, celery, pepper, and salt. Simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes or until peas are tender and soup thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Serve immediately.

maple and pepper pork chops (or in my case chicken thighs):

(this is swiped from the blog Eggs on Sunday and more detail including step-by-step pictures can be found here-- the best part other than how delicious it tastes is that the ingredients are pretty on-hand)

4 pork chops, bone-in or boneless (I like ones that are about 1 inch thick, and as always, if you can find a local purveyor of humanely-raised meat, please do choose that.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 large shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I prefer Grade B or Dark Amber)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Pat the pork chops dry and season them well with the 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Rub the salt into the surface of the meat.

3. Preheat an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the 2 tablespoons of oil (it should shimmer.

4. Place the chops into the pan, presentation side down. Leave them to brown on this side for a few minutes. You can tell they’re ready to flip when the meat releases from the bottom of the pan when you gently lift up an edge.

5. Flip the chops over, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of one of the chops, and put the whole pan into the oven to finish cooking.

6. When the chops reach 145 degrees F, take the pan out of the oven and place the chops on a plate. Cover with foil and set aside.

7. Return the pan to the stove. You should have about 1-2 tablespoon of fat remaining in the pan; if there’s a lot more, pour it off before putting it back on the stove. Add the shallot, thyme, and another 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallot is softening and beginning to brown, about 2 minutes.

8. Add the vinegar and stir with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits of fond on the bottom of the pan. Simmer for another 1-2 minutes, then add the maple syrup and ground peppercorns.

9. Simmer the sauce for about 8-10 minutes, until it’s been reduced by about half, to a syrupy/glaze consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

10. Spoon over the pork to serve.


LA RN said...

I LOVE me some split pea soup!! What a great dish to make; I'm gonna have to make that a project soon! Delish! said...

I always make biscuits and honey when I made split pea soup. They go together well.

Nicole said...

i love those pork chops...have made them a bunch!