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tomatoes

The Kitchen Witch

June, 2016

Skillet Pork Chops with Rice and Tomatoes

There is nothing like an heirloom recipe. I cherish the ones I have from both of my grandmothers and my mother. To me, it’s a way of preserving the magic that they instilled in me from an early age – that of kitchen witchery. I doubt that they would have looked at it in that way – I know my mother wouldn’t! – but magic in the kitchen is magic in the kitchen, no matter how you term it.

This is an old recipe of my Gramma Mac’s. Like so many recipes of that era, it doesn’t give very good directions and in the ten years or so that I have been making this, I have tweaked it numerous times to improve it.

The original recipe called for four pork chops but I think that chops must have been must smaller in the old days because it never works for me with four whole chops. I generally get three or – like I did this time – I get pork steaks. Personally, I have never been a fan of pork steaks but, as they say, “the price was right”!

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Take them out of the package, salt and pepper them, and then brown them in about a tablespoon of olive oil. When they are browned on both sides, add a cup of onion slices (it depends on the size of your onion, but half a large onion, sliced) and half a green pepper, sliced.

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Let them cook a little bit and then add a third of a cup of rice. My grandmother’s recipe said half a cup but I’ve found that a third of a cup works better. You want to spread the rice around so it browns a little bit in the flavored oil.

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At this point, my grandmother’s recipe said to add a can of whole tomatoes. I used to do this and I would break up the tomatoes to facilitate the cooking process. And I started adding seasonings… At first, Italian seasonings – basil, oregano and parsley but that didn’t seem to work too well. So then I started adding chili powder and cumin and that worked much better. So that’s how I do it now.

BUT. This particular time I did another cool tweak! I bought this can of tomatoes:

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If you don’t have this particular brand in your store, I am sure you can find something similar – Ro-Tel or something like that. Adding this instead of the whole tomatoes meant that I could cut the seasonings in half and WOW! What a flavor!

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Of course, after you add the tomatoes, you will have to add a little water to the pan to give it enough moisture to cook the rice. If I have white wine, I’ll add the wine but if not – water is just fine! You just want enough fluid to cover the meat and vegies. Cover it up and let it simmer for twenty or so minutes.

And here it is, all ready to serve:

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So, give this a try and maybe give the recipe a few tweaks of your own. And create some kitchen witchery of your own!