|Pork Chop with Cider Gravy, Sauteed Apples and Onions|
I picked up a copy of Rachael Ray’s Big Orange Book late last year after learning it had a section dedicated to meals for one. I reluctantly became a fan of Ray after her daytime TV debuted a few years ago and I learned that several of her 30 minute meal recipes are, indeed, delicious, and usually easy to prepare.
The Pork Chop with Cider Gravy, Sautéed Apples and Onions recipe was no exception to the quick and easy meal formula. The ingredient list is relatively short, and if you have a well-stocked pantry, you most likely have most of the ingredients on hand (things like EVOO, salt and pepper, chicken stock, flour).
And the method is simple. Brown pork chop on both sides (6 to 8 minutes total) and set aside to rest. Sauté apples and onions in the same pan until tender (5 to 6 minutes), and move to plate with pork chop. Finally, make the cider gravy (about 3 to 4 minutes total). If your confident and quick with your knife-wielding skills, you can slice the veg while you’re browning the chop, and realistically get this meal ready in 20 minutes start-to-finish.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that it can be difficult to find pork chops that are really close to 1-inch thick. I often find that I end up getting some closer to 1-1/2 inches thick. If this happens to you, I’d suggest preheating your oven to 350 degrees at the same time you’re heating the pan for the pork chop. Once the chop is browned, transfer it to an oven-safe dish, cover it with foil, and let it hang out until the veg is ready. Pull it out, transfer it to your dinner plate and tent the plate with foil until the gravy is ready.
I like this meal because of it’s simple preparation and quick cooking time. Not only that, but it’s actually quite delicious, and produces a small number of dirty dishes (a huge bonus for me as I don’t have a dishwasher). The book suggests serving with a store-bough corn muffin to round out the meal.
Oh, and if the portion in the photo looks huge, it is. I actually ate half of the meal last night and I plan on the other half for lunch today.
Overall, I think Ray’s Big Orange Book has a lot of interesting meal ideas for the solo diner, but it may not be worth shelling out the $25 (full-price; it’s probably much cheaper online) if you don’t plan on trying some of the other recipes. I still haven’t tried any of the others, but I definitely find some of the recipes interesting, most notably the Lemon Cream Chicken with Champagne Risotto and Asparagus with Pancetta “New Years Meal for 2.”