Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's for dinner: Pork chops with almond masala

This was one of those meals when I had a really nice protein, thick pork loin chops, and wanted something with a lot of seasoning. I think low-carb diets do that to me; I seem to like things spicier than usual.

I did my usual brining routine on the pork. I guess it is a bit of a crutch to be sure it will be moist if I mess up, but I use it to add flavor, too. This time I added cumin, white pepper, and cinnamon to the brine. After about an hour in the brine I rinsed and dried them and while the pork chops came to room temp I tackled the side dishes. I wanted a curry of some sort, and with a sauce like that I would normally want a pilaf of some sort. In its place I zapped half a spaghetti squash in the microwave oven. While that cooked I heated 1 T of garam masala powder in a couple of teaspoons of oil until it was fragrant, then added about a half-cup of chopped onion and cooked that until the onion was translucent. Then I added a big pinch of cayenne and half a cup of coconut milk. Brought that up to a boil and added about two tablespoons of almond butter. I thought that was a good way to get in the nuttiness I wanted since I can’t eat peanuts. I simmered that for just a minute or two, it thickened up fast. Added a little salt to taste and set it aside.

To cook the pork I heated the oven to 400 degrees and a skillet to very hot. Coated the chops with oil and put them in the skillet, got that great sizzle that told me the skillet was hot enough. Two minutes on each side gave the chops a nice brown crust, then I put a thermometer probe into one of them and put them in the oven. Set the thermometer to beep when the temp hit 150. When that happened I put the chops on a plate and tented them and added the juices in the pan to the sauce and reheated it. Removed the spaghetti squash from its shell and put some in the center of the plate, sauce in a broad stripe across it, and the pork chop leaning up against the squash and sauce. Rounded out the meal with a romaine salad with blue cheese and cucumbers.

It was good enough that I had to write it down in this detail so I can do that sauce again. I think it would be good on chicken skewers.

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