Sweet and tangy, with just the right amount of spice and vinegar, the saucy veggies perfectly complement the pork in a way that is 100% original and delish. Move over BBQ pork chops!
This month, Mr. EN and I are 100% watching our budget. In a few weeks, were headed out to New York (everything is expensive there) to see our kids, then it’s on to Omaha where one daughter will be living for the next six months. Whenever we are on a mission to spend less, I insist on “eating what we have” no matter what that is. That’s how we ended up using two lonely-looking pork chops that were buried in the bottom our freezer under a few too many bags of edamame that I purchased on super-sale at Aldi several months ago. Fortunately, today was my day. This tangy, flavorful Pork Pepperonata, slightly adapted from a recipe I found in this month’s issue of Cooking Light, had so much more going on than I thought it would!
The Nutrition 411:
- The Other White Meat. Contrary to what many people think, the six-ounce pork chops used in this recipe are not a diet disaster. One 6-ounce, bone-in loin chop boasts less than 250 calories and contains 20 grams of high quality protein. Bottom line: uncured pork chops can be a healthy choice as long as the portion size is reasonable.
- Peppers Rule. We always have colored peppers on hand. I buy them every week. That’s because peppers are super versatile, extremely low in calories and packed with vitamins and minerals – especially Vitamin C.
- Fresh Herbs. Pile them on! They’re low in calorie and full of cancer-fighting, good-for-you phytochemicals. There’s still time to grown them in your yard, in a pot on your deck, on your balcony or on a windowsill. For a super quick start, buy plants instead of seeds.
- Don’t skip step 7 – deglazing. This is where all the flavor-packed meaty goodness gets released back into the rest of the dish – a crucial step.
- Keep your thumb on the pork and don’t overcook it. It really depends on how thick your chops are to begin with. They should be tender and slightly pink inside when done.
- Use dried herbs if you don’t have fresh. They’ll work fine but you’ll need less. Typically, you use three times the amount of fresh herbs as dry. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, you need only 1 teaspoon of dried, since 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon.
- Don’t be afraid of the vinegar. It’s the vinegar that really make this dish different. The good news is, you can use almost any kind of vinegar you have: apple cider, balsamic, rice vinegar… you name it. Don’t like vinegar much? Use a little less.
Are you ready to get cookin’? If you’re lucky enough to find two almost-past-the-due-date, semi-freezer burned pork chops lurking in the bottom of your freezer, it’s time to give this Pork Pepperonata a try. I think you’ll enjoy it. We sure did.
Peace, love, and good eats; from our Empty Nest to yours.
Trending in the EN Kitchen: Fresh herbs such as oregano, parsley, thyme or basil. Try growing your own.
Yield 2 servings
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 2 (6 oz.) bone-in center-cut pork loin chops
- ½ red pepper, sliced
- ½ green pepper, sliced
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or about ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
- Pat the pork chops dry. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a medium-size fry pan warm ¾ tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate.
- Heat the remaining ¾ tablespoon olive oil in the pan; add the red pepper flakes and cook 1 minute.
- Add the onion and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the peppers and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until the garlic is soft and the peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the oregano, parsley and red wine vinegar. Scrape all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan – this is where the flavor is!
- Return the chops and any juices to the pan and spoon the onion/pepper mixture on top. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the peppers are soft and the chops are tender about 5 minutes. Stir the capers into the sauce.
- Transfer the chops to two plates and spoon the sautéed veggies and any liquid left in the pan on top.
- Optional - Top with a few leaves of fresh oregano and/or sprigs of fresh parsley.
- Serve immediately. Serves 2.
Serving Size 1 chop, plus toppings
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 19 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 64 mg
Sodium 266 mg
Total Carbohydrates 8 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 21 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.