So I wanted to do something a little different (I love experimenting with this blog) and instead of sharing just one recipe, I would share recipes for an entire meal. This meal may look fancy, but I assure you, it is really easy and can be done quickly with the right tool. That tool is a mandolin. See my Products I Love!! page for the one I use. If you don't have a mandolin, and I haven't convinced yet just how awesome they are, I believe most box graters have a slicing side that you could use, I just don't know how thick the slices will be. Of course, you could always slice by hand, but that will add time to the prep work. It took me less than a minute to slice the potatoes using my mandolin (convinced yet??). Now you know why I so highly recommend one. These gratins are so good, and I added a little something to them. I am serving them with pork after all. Let me tell you how I put this meal together. You will want to start with the gratins. Here's how I did it:
Gruyere & Applesauce Potato Gratins:
1 tbsp organic unsalted butter
2 large organic russet potatoes, peeled and rinsed
1 1/2 cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 cup organic heavy cream
salt, pepper, and fresh nutmeg (can use ground)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Separate the butter among 4 ramekins. Using a mandolin, cut the russet potatoes into thin slices. In a 2 cup measuring cup, add the applesauce and the cream and stir until combined. Now you are ready to assemble. Put about 4-5 potato slices on the bottom of the ramekin. Add about a tablespoon or slightly more shredded cheese. Add a tiny pinch of salt & pepper and a couple grates of nutmeg or a tiny, and I mean tiny, pinch. Pour about 2 tbsp of the cream mixture over the top of the cheese and add another layer of potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cream. I usually get 3 layers in these ramekins. Put the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. While the gratins are baking, move forward with the rest of the meal.
Tip: This recipe might seem complicated but it really isn't. The key was prepping the ingredients, which took less than 5 minutes, having everything there and ready to go. Then it was like an assembly line. It took about 5 minutes to put these together. If you don't have ramekins you could use a small casserole pan, which I have done before, but you will only get 2 layers from it. It would bake at the same temperature and time as well.
You could even make mashed potatoes if you wanted. Boil about 2 lbs of potatoes. Once they are fork tender add 1 tbsp of butter, 3 tbsp applesauce, 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere, and 1/4 cup cream. Season with salt, pepper, and tiny pinch of nutmeg. Add a little more cream and butter if you need to. If you wanted to, you could omit the nutmeg, I wouldn't buy some just for this recipe that's for sure. But for me, I love nutmeg with Gruyere, I think it adds a little something.
Cabbage & Red Onions with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette:
4-5 slices uncured organic bacon, chopped
3 cups organic purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 large organic red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt + more to taste, if desired
3 tbsp bacon drippings
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp organic sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp organic pure maple syrup
Directions: In a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. While the bacon is cooking, slice the cabbage and onion and put in a bowl and set aside. Remove the bacon from the pot and put on a plate lined with paper towel to drain. Remove the bacon drippings and set aside. Turn off the burner and wait before proceeding with the dish. (see Tip below)
Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the cabbage and onion to the pot, season with the salt, and cook until tender crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the cabbage mix and put in the original bowl and set aside. Add the bacon drippings, vinegar, sugar, and Dijon and whisk until combined. Add the maple syrup and whisk. Add the cabbage mix and stir until all the cabbage is coated. Turn off the pot and stir in the pork. Serve immediately.
Tip: I actually waited until the pork was resting before turning the pot back on to restart the dish. Once you start cooking the cabbage mix, it comes together in less than 10 minutes. It's best served straight away. FYI, this is one of my top 10 favorite dishes. It is just so freaking good, and dare I say, healthy. Bacon drippings are actually a good fat, and 1 tsp of sugar for all this cabbage is not bad at all.
Perfect Pork Chops:
4 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick
1 cup organic flour
2 large organic eggs
1 1/2 cups organic panko
2 tsp salt
1 tsp organic pepper
1 tsp organic garlic powder
2 tbsp fresh organic parsley, chopped
1/4 canola oil
Directions: Prepare the pork by laying out on a cutting board, covering with a piece of plastic wrap and pounding to about 1/4 inch thick. A mallet or rolling pin works well for this. Next, set up a dredging station. Add flour to the first pan. Add the eggs to the second pan and whisk until combined. In the third pan, add the panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to combine. Preheat a skillet to medium-high (I used an iron skillet, it's the best pan to fry in, hands down) and add the oil. Starting with the flour, dip each pork loin chop until lightly coated. Shake off the extra. Dip in the egg mixture and finally panko. When all the pork loin chops are breaded, and the skillet is ready (add a few grains of flour if you are not sure. If they start to bubble up, its ready) begin adding them to the skillet. Cook on the first side for about 4 minutes, until golden brown. Flip over and cook for another 3-4 minutes. I covered the pan with a piece of foil. Once the time is up, remove the foil and check the temperature of the meat. I was hoping for 145 degrees, it was 147. Remove the meat and place on a paper toweled line plate to rest. Season with a pinch of salt and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
~So there you have it, a complete meal that took about an hour or so. A little longer than my usual but totally worth it. If you choose to make mashed potatoes instead, this meal could easily be done in less than 30 minutes. I hope you try it, sticking to my recipes, but using ingredients that you would cook with. Enjoy!!