Mint Julep Glazed Pork Chops served with Baked Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce

26 05 2009
Mint Julep Glazed Pork Chops and Baked Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce

Mint Julep Glazed Pork Chops and Baked Cauliflower in Tomato Sauce

Excellent! This turned out really good on all accounts!  The pork was tender and flavorful, the cauliflower was also tender and the tomato sauce added so much to it. And to top it all off I got to use some of my “Almost Quart of Mint Syrup” I made yesterday!

So lets talk cauliflower first.  I had my two heads from the market and wanted to baked them and came up with blog post/guidelinesfor my dish. I don’t like olives so those immediately got cut and I decided to use the cauliflower greens both in the sauce and as a garnish so I cut out the parsley.  I decided to make this while at work today so I put a call into the Sous Chef and she went to the downtown all day market and got me  3 Roma tomatoes for our use tonight.  The irony is one of the reasons this dish won out was because I had bought a pre-seasoned pork chop from my grocery store and I was going to use that for the meat but decided I wanted more leftovers than that anyway so I bought more pork chops!  Which were on sale at the store for $2.50 a lb or so and I got about 2.g lbs in 6 chops.  But back to the cauliflower.

So with guideline in hand I realized I was going to need two pots for the two heads of cauliflower but what I failed to realize is that big can of “tomatoes” in my pantry was actually a big can of garbanzo beans! Oops! Luckily, I had bought another can at the store so I could downsize to one head of lettuce and still be ok.  So I did.  The other head got baked with cumin instead. Anyway I digress. Again.

So I heated up a few tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pot, threw in 4-5 cloves of garlic that was coarsely chopped, chopped up cauliflower stems, and 3 small onions from the farmers market and sauteed it for about 8 minutes or until I decided things were burning to much!

Red Onions. Of some kind!

Red Onions. Of some kind!

Once that was good and going I poured in the 10 oz can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and 3 chopped Roma tomatoes to boot.  It was a bit on the thick side so I put in about a cup of water and some salt for good measure (without measuring it at all!).  I let that simmer for a few minute and then in went the whole head of cauliflower with about half of it under the liquid.  I poured some olive oil on to coast the exposed head and on the lid went.  35 or so minutes later I poured in the coarsely diced cauliflower greens and pu the lid back on for another 15 minutes.  50 minutes after entering the pot the finished cauliflower looked like this:

"Baked" Cauliflower!

"Baked" Cauliflower!

Mmmmmmmmmm. On the other side of the kitchen the pork was raising its head too!

Pork Chops.  Well like I said earlier I stopped and bought 6 nice thick pork chops for cheap on the way home from work today.  I got inspiration to glaze them with a mint julep-esq glaze from this recipe here.  However, after I got threw with it it was a straight up mint julep reduced onto the pork. Nothing else. Nothing more.

I trimmed the fat off of 3 of the chops and called the Sous Chef to bring over some Bourbon because I evidently had run out :( Which is tragic as I am the one who drinks it. Luckily, the Sous Chef is having a part Friday that she was going to serve it at and hand some on hand; now of course I have to go by her another bottle before Friday! Anyway I melted about a tablespoon of margarine in the frying pan and pan seared the 3 pork chops until they look just a bit underdone but delicious:

Pan Seared to almost Perfection!

Pan Seared to almost Perfection!

Once they got to this point I poured in a 50/50 mixture of Mint Syrup and Bourbon onto the whole chops.  I let the chops cook in them for a few minutes and then changed my plan.  I pulled the chops out and sliced them into strips and put them back into the glaze to coat more of the chop directly.  I let the strips cook some more in the mint julep as it reduced to a nice glaze on the pork strips.  Yummy! And of course since I was cooking with bourbon there was one last thing I had to be doing the entire time:

Bourbon for me!

Bourbon for me!

The pork was amazing. It was cooked a little more than I would have like but still tender.  I should have sliced it up earlier and let it finish it cooking more in the glaze.  Changing plans on the fly though will do that to you. Otherwise the pork was pretty much awesome and the mint julep glaze was great because it had a nice hint of mint and bourbon but was mostly caramelized onto it.  This was probably the star of the show this time when I had intended it to be the nice supportive quiet EASY friend.  Oppps!

The cauliflower was also really good. It was nice and tender and had some great flavor.  Serving the tomato “sauce” on the side as a chutney almost was a great touch (thanks inspiration page!) because it was so flavorful to scoop onto more cauliflower.  The cauliflower greens as a garnish also was a success in that I didn’t taste that they were they so they didn’t distract from the dish, added some lovely color, didn’t go to waste, and probably continued the cauliflower flavor.  All in all an amazing dinner all around! And now a closer up of the tomato sauce:

Tomato Chutney/Sauce Stage Left Please!

Tomato Chutney/Sauce Stage Left Please!

For a meal that really wasn’t technically difficult at all this turned out AWESOME.  My biggest problem is I kept spilling things and once trip with a sharp knife in my hand and fell towards the hot stove. Luckily nothing happened but it was an “Oh no” moment!



One response

27 05 2009

guys the cauli was SO AWESOME. i mean all of it was, but check it! cooking a whole cauliflower in a huge freaking pot of tomato sauce! how cool is that?!

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