Braised vegetables are among my very favourite, especially when they’re done on the stovetop while quickly searing a pork chop in a cast iron pan to pop into the oven. Delicious, deeply flavoured meal ready in 20 minutes.
The December 2016/January 2017 issue of Fine Cooking had a wonderful article by Susie Middleton describing the Winter Vegetable Ragout method – a master recipe for preparing combinations of root, quicker cooking and aromatic vegetables and provides options for each type. All of the ragouts are finished with a sauce of citrus/vinegar/sweetener (like honey or maple syrup) and a dash of fresh herbs.
The author grows vegetables on a small farm on Martha’s Vineyard, and writes vegetable cookbooks. This lady knows her onions! Her latest “Simple Green Suppers” seems to be very well reviewed.
Annoyingly, this article never comes up when I search Fine Cooking’s website so I went back, pulled out the physical magazine and snapped pictures of it so I have it on my iPad for wherever I happen to be.
This particular combination comprises sweet potatoes, green beans, red peppers and spinach – vegetables you’re likely to have on hand, or are at least readily procured – nothing exotic, but the flavour combination is to die for. I always double the recipe so we have some leftovers to reheat for lunches.
- 2 double-cut bone-in Pork Chops (1 1/2" to 2" thickness)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 2 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided in half
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 oz sweet potatoes (unpeeled) cut into 1/2" thick slices, then into 1" pieces
- 8 oz green beans, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 c red bell pepper quartered and thickly sliced (about 1/2 a pepper)
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 oz fresh spinach (about 2 c loosely packed)
- 3 tsp fresh Italian Parsley
- Preheat the oven to 325°F convection or 350° regular
- Sprinkle the two pork chops with kosher salt and season with pepper. Set to one side and leave to come up to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce for the vegetables and set aside.
- In a large (7 quart) dutch oven or other braising pan, heat 1 tbsp of the butter and 1 tbsp of the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sweet potatoes in a single layer and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of kosher salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally at first and more often after the browning begins, until the vegetables are browned and just tender (about 7 minutes). Push the vegetables to one side of the pot, mounding them up.
- Meanwhile, in an 8" cast iron skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops on both sides until brown (about 3 minutes per side). Place the skillet in the oven and pan roast the pork chops until they reach an internal temperature of about 135°F (about 5-7 minutes). Remove the pan from the oven, turn the pork chops, tent with foil and set to one side. The pork chops will continue to cook, rising in temperature to the recommended 145° internal temperature while you finish the vegetables.
- Add the green beans to the braising pot in a single layer and sprinkle with a touch of kosher salt. Add a little more olive oil if the pan looks dry. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until browned and just tender (about 5 minutes). Push to the side along with the sweet potatoes.
- Lower the heat slightly and add a bit more olive oil if the pan looks dry. Add the red peppers, stir, cover and cook until softened and beginning to brown (2-4 minutes). Add the ginger and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the spinach and gently stir all the vegetables in the pot until the spinach is wilted (about 1 minute). Add the sauce from the first step along with 1 tbsp butter and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Stir gently until the butter melts. Stir in most of the chopped Italian parsley.
- Plate the pork chops and vegetables, garnished with the remaining parsley. Serve and enjoy!
- Another combination we love is carrots, quartered Brussels sprouts, shallots or yellow onions and spinach. We use an orange, white balsamic vinegar and a touch of honey in the sauce and thyme for the herb. We like ginger for the aromatic, but garlic is good, too.
- It seems like a lot of fiddling about with various steps at first, but there are so many delicious combinations to try once you get the method down, you're never at a loss for a delicious vegetable side dish.
- The article has a few more excellent combinations, so buying a copy of the December 2016/January 2017 issue from Fine Cooking is well worth it.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.