Dinner in Five Parts

Syndicated

I know what you may be thinking...what reasonable woman decides to take on a dinner of this magnitude on a weeknight. Work until 4:30, do homework with the kids, drive one to swim practice and ...POOF! It is 6:00.

Well, folks that is exactly what I did Tuesday night. I thought my husband and I needed to have an adult dinner with all the trimmings: a clean tablecloth, nice cloth napkins, candles and the really nice dishes. We even had wine! We really went all out ;)

Sometimes, there is nothing more romantic than you and your man making dinner together. The anticipation of the finished meal is not something you can reproduce at a restaurant. I didn't want to get a sitter and go out. I wanted to make something special, while he watched me cook, and we had a bit of wine and good conversation in the process. Our kids were in bed early, so I saw this as the perfect chance for some adult time. After 17 years together and 15 years of marriage sometimes you need to get back to basics. Nothing says love like making dinner together in flannel pants and t-shirts!

Now this is a recipe in four parts. Make any or all of this, but at least make the pork and cream sauce over the smashed potatoes. It is just perfect together!

Herb rub just waiting to be mixed

1. Begin by making the herb rub.

Herb Rub

1/4 c fresh Rosemary 'leaves'
2 TBSP dried oregano
2 TBSP dried thyme
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 TB kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Sweating the shallots and garlic

Making the roux

The cream sauce right before straining it

2. Prepare the rosemary cream sauce

Rosemary Cream Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
2 TBSP chopped shallots (about 2 large)
1 TBSP minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
1 1/2 c chicken stock
2 c heavy cream (of course you can use half & half)
1/2 tsp ground dried rosemary
1/4 tsp ground dried sage
2-3 TB of white roux (just melt 3 TB of butter in a small saucepan, add 2 TB of flour over medium heat and allow to incorporate and form a roux. Whisk with a fork, then remove from heat. This may take 2 minutes)
1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary

Saute shallot and garlic in the olive oil until translucent. Add chicken stock and reduce by half over medium heat. Add the cream, ground rosemary and sage. Let simmer and thicken after you add the roux. You may strain through a sieve, puree with an immersion blender or leave chunky. Add the chopped rosemary at the end of the dish.

The cabbage in the 'wine bath'

3. Prepare the braised cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage

1 head red cabbage, thinly shredded
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 TBSP red wine
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Bring all of the ingredients to a simmer in a large saute pan. Allow cabbage to soften considerably. Reduce heat and keep warm.

Beautiful, buttery and fragrant roasted shallots

4. Prepare the roasted shallots

Roasted Shallots

8-10 whole peeled shallots
2 TBSP herb rub
1 TBSP olive oil

In a small bowl, mix together and toss the ingredients, and pour into a small roasting pan or baking sheet. Bake in a 325-degree oven until soft and golden brown, or for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

Thick cut pork chops sizzling away in a pan of hot butter

5. Prepare the pork chops

Rub pork chops with a small amount of oil and then the herb rub. In a large saute pan, melt a small amount of butter, then add a drizzle of olive oil (medium heat). Sear the pork chops on every side, cooking through. If they are really thick, you can finish them off in the oven on a cookie sheet.

The finished dish over the blue cheese mashed potatoes and little spicy blue cheese wafers

***I served this over a simple smashed potato sprinkled with Danish Bleu cheese. This dish is full of robust flavors yet very simple. This is what I call comfort food! I had a nice Chardonnay with this, and my husband had Pinot Noir. I bought bone-in chops that I had sliced to a 2-inch thickness. Alternately, you could use a pork tenderloin as well. Fresh herbs are fantastic, but readily available dried herbs from your spice cabinet work great for this recipe! ***

Heather Tallman

Newspaper Columnist, Food Writer and creator of

Basilmomma: A Busy Mom That Likes to Cook

www.basilmomma.com

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