When I sat down to write today I started to worry maybe Jason and I are a little boring, last night’s dinner seems so run of the mill! But I realized that may be just what you need to hear right now. Sometimes we are up for making elaborate meals, and sometimes we aren’t. But even in those moments where you are only up for something simple you can still have a delicious dinner. And for anyone who feels daunted by taking on the Whole 30 mealtime can still be simple, as our dinner last night proves.
The plan had been for me to tailor my signature Brussels sprouts to accompany our pork chops, which typically involve a lot of butter and white wine. So I got started by making my first batch of ghee. For anyone not familiar, ghee is a type of clarified butter that is typical in Indian cuisine. It is easy to make, as I hope the pictures below demonstrate, and I look forward to using it when I get around to making those Brussels sprouts.
As this was my first time making ghee, I would be remiss not to refer you to the recipe I followed. But I do want to share my key take aways: be patient, do not stir, and have a splatter screen handy. The butter will start to pop and spatter and makes a funny crackling noise as the milk solids are separating. It takes about 20 minutes total, and the next time I make it I will be aiming for a little darker golden color.
As it turned out, the Brussels sprouts I was sure were in my shopping cart a few days ago were not in my fridge when I went looking for them. I felt so sure I bought them, but considering the mountain of vegetable in my cart by the time I made it to the checkout line, maybe I forgot. So…. no Brussels with last night’s dinner. Fortunately I could substitute broccoli, and I dd remember the carrots!
We make roast broccoli all the time and it is much more flavorful than the steamed variety. I am going to go ahead and type it up as the featured recipe at the end here, but it is a lot like yesterday’s asparagus where you don’t really need a recipe. The carrots are something we tried on Thanksgiving from the NY Times Cooking website. We have repeated them twice since turkey day, which means they are a keeper.
As far as the pork chops go, we follow advice we saw years ago on America’s Test Kitchen. Rub the chops with olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and fresh black pepper. If you are not on the Whole 30 you can also sprinkle a little sugar on one side. Place the chops (sugar side down, if using) in a cold cast iron skillet. Set the flame on medium and cook slowly until the chop is golden, then flip to other side. Here is where we leave the Test Kitchen behind as we throw our chops into a well heated 400° oven to finish them. We tend to buy thicker pork chops and this method works better for us. They need 5-10 minutes in the oven depending on thickness. We are also big believers in letting all meat rest for 5 or so minutes before cutting into it, but if you let them rest in the skillet you may end up with dry meat. If you haven’t already heard me say this multiple times cast iron can make a huge difference in flavor, but it does retain heat so be forewarned.
- 1 bunch broccoli cut into florets
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- zest of half a lemon
- Florets must be dry, if they are wet from rinsing pat try with paper towels. Place in glass 9×13 pan and pour olive oil over broccoli. Season with salt and pepper toss to evenly distribute.
- Roast in 400° oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and grate zest over broccoli. Give a quick stir to distribute the zest and flip the broccoli so it browns evenly.
- Return to oven for approximately 15 minutes, until florets are pierced easily with knife. Serve immediately.