This past Saturday, as some of you might have seen, my family challenged me to another episode of “CHOPPED: Swamp Edition”. My ingredients this time were bone
in Pork Chops, Apple Cider, Cabbage, Navel Oranges & Thai Rice Noodles. Not exactly a completely daunting proposition but not a great combo either. In order to conform with full disclosure, I was given the ingredients list a little early but I was also told
that I was getting Pork Loin, Blood oranges & WonTon Wrappers which obviously had me thinking of dishes in a completely opposite direction than the direction I wound up taking.
So what did I do ? Well the first thing I did was shred half of the cabbage and toss it in a large covered
sauté pan. I added in some red cabbage, half a diced sweet onion, the apple cider, salt, pepper, celery salt, lemon pepper and I am sure there was something else but I can’t remember what it was. While the cabbage was stewing (braising ?), I juiced the oranges
& a lime, added in a half a heaping teaspoon of Chinese five spice, salt, pepper & a little sugar and then half of it was poured over the pork chops which had been artfully arranged (jammed) into a large stainless steel oven ready pan. I let those marinate
while I messed up thai rice noodles.
Thai Rice Noodles should have been easy. I should have just made them like regular pasta and then tossed
them with the cabbage but no. I decided to soak them and then finish them in the leftover cabbage juice. We will come back to them shortly.
Once the pork chops had marinated I turned on the heat and started to brown them on one side. As the liquid
started to bubble and the edges started to curl, I flipped them and poured the rest of the marinade on before tossing them into a 350 degree oven to finish. Once the pork was just about perfect, I pulled them out of the oven and put them on a plate and covered
them with aluminum foil. I then turned the burner on and began to reduce the juices in the pan. Knowing that I already had fat in the pan from the pork chops, I sifted in a little flour and whisked down a citrus five spice gravy to be poured over the pork
chops. In hindsight, this might have been great on the thai rice noodles too but I made the mistake of trying to finish them in the leftover cabbage juices and that just didn’t work as well as I had hoped.
In the end, my judges were not quite as cruel as the judges on CHOPPED (who have a perpetual stick stuck
up their….but this is a family blog and we won’t say anything). My son who gives out stars like the government prints money, gave me 500 stars, claimed to like the cabbage and chewed on 3 different bones. My daughter that eats everything loved the pork, loved
the cabbage and was less than complimentary about the rice noodles. My daughter that doesn’t like anything and will say the opposite of her older sister almost every time, loved the pork chop and tried to convince me that she liked the cabbage & rice noodles
but the fact that she never touched either one after her critique told me that she might have been fibbing just a little to Daddy. My wife loved the pork, loved the sauce, hid the cabbage from the kids so she could have it for breakfast and then helped open
the trash can when I asked what I should do with the leftover noodles.
All in all, I think I still would have made it to the dessert round but I don’t think that I would have
won the $10,000. Come back next time when we finally take on a CHOPPED: Breakfast Edition with my daughter that has to always be contrary.