Southern Food Makes Me Happy

There are only two words I can use to sum up our weekend: food + lazy.  Or, in other words, glorious.  You know it’s going to be a nice, easy Saturday when you start your day off with this meal at a diner:

Heaven on a plate.

I also did a little cooking this weekend and the recipes were too good not to share.  If you have read this blog for a few months, you’ve probably seen some Pioneer Woman recipes pop up randomly.  Truth is, I’m a teensy bit obsessed with anything and everything that comes out of her kitchen.  I have my eye on lots of desserts, dinners and sides from her new cookbook to try.

For dinner last night, I made her Pork Chops with Apples and Grits.  Y’all, my little southern soul was so happy after eating this.  Bonus-it’s a really easy recipe to make.

Ingredients

■8 slices Regular Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces (I left this out so it was a little healthier, but I’m sure bacon would make this even more delicious)

■1 whole Yellow Onion, Chopped  (I left this out)

■2 cups Stone Ground Grits; The More Coarse, The Better!

■4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

■2 cups Water

■2 cups Heavy Cream (I used fat free)

■1-1/2 cup Grated Cheese (Monterey Jack, Etc.)

■1 dash Cayenne, For Heat

■ Salt As Needed

■ Black Pepper To Taste

Preparation Instructions

In a heavy pot, cook bacon over medium heat for a couple of minutes to render fat. Add onions and cook with bacon for a few minutes, or until bacon is chewy and onions are golden brown.

Add grits, chicken broth, and water. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover pot, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the liquid level is okay. If grits begin to get dry, add a little more warm broth.   After 30-40 minutes of cooking time, pour in cream. Cover pot and continue to simmer on very low heat for another 30 minutes, or until grits are done. Taste and add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Keep warm and serve.

I somehow skipped over the water and couldn’t figure out my the grits were so dry, so I added extra chicken broth, which worked.  I didn’t cook them for an hour like she instructed-mine were probably done after 30 minutes. 

Ingredients

■6 whole Boneless Pork Chops, About 1/2-inch Thick

■2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

■2 Tablespoons Butter

■2 whole Gala Apples, Diced

■1/2 cup Dry White Wine (drink the rest :))

■2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar (I used regular vinegar because that’s what we had)

■3/4 cups Pure Maple Syrup

■1 dash Salt

■ Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Preparation Instructions

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter in melted.

Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Brown them on both sides until nice and golden. Remove pork chops from the skillet and set on a separate plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add apples and stir to combine them with the oil, and butter that remains in the pan. Pour in wine and vinegar, then whisk along the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup, then add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir, then return pork chops to the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Serve pork chops on top of a generous helping of Creamy Cheese Grits and spoon the apple-maple sauce over the top, allowing the liquid to drip over the grits.

Nick said last night that he really lucked out because I didn’t cook at all when we got married and he was fully prepared to cook for the next 50 years.  I guess marriage got me in touch with my domestic side. 🙂

Oh, and speaking of another lady that I have am borderline obsessed slightly fascinated by, I spent some time last night watching highlights of the royal wedding.  Nick may or may not have been ready to ship me off to London for making him watch their wedding for a second round.  Happy Anniversary Will and Kate!

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