Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lunch Week 3: Pork Marsala with Sauteed Escarole

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch the next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it every week unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided.

So my lunch for the week: Pork Marsala with Sauteed Escarole
Changing the cuisines up keeps my lunches interesting. Korean one week, Turkish another. This time, I'm making Italian. No pasta, cheese, or red sauce here. Nope. Instead, I'm opting for pork chops in marsala wine sauce and sauteed escarole and cannellini beans.

Escarole is a leafy vegetable that looks very much like lettuce but is closer to the endive family. Its broad, hearty leaves and mild flavor makes it superb for soups, salads, or just sauteing  I washed and roughly chopped 2 large bunches just like lettuce.
I also opened and drained one can of cannellini beans. I washed any preservatives off using a strainer.
For the pork, I prepped some baby bella mushrooms (sliced) and fresh basil.
The pork chops were seasoned. These were actually halves of pork chops since it was too thick. You want thin chops for this recipe. You can also use chicken if you prefer. For even quicker cooking time, pound the chops with a tenderizer so make them even thinner.
After seasoning the pork chops, I dusted them in all purpose flour until evenly coated.
Then I seared them on both sides until golden brown on medium heat with butter. Mmm, butter.
When all the pork chops are seared, I placed them in a roasting pan. Then deglazed the pan with the mushrooms and marsala wine. Bring back to boil and slightly reduce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the basil and a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice to brighten it up.
Pour the entire mushroom wine sauce on top of the pork chops and bake for 10-15 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
While the pork chops are baking, saute your escarole in the same pan. It will wilt down significantly so don't be afraid to use just the one pan for all those leaves. Add some chicken stock to make a light sauce. Once wilted, add the beans, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  And done. Super easy.
This is a really simple recipe that can be made ahead and reheated. It's even easier if you're making smaller portions. Normally, I place the pork chops back into the pan and simmer until cooked through. about 5 minutes. No baking needed. But with 9 portions, I needed a roasting pan. As for the flavor, I really enjoy wine sauce. It's so rich in flavor. Don't like marsala wine? Use white wine instead. It's really versatile. The only gripe I have about this lunch I made is that I overbaked the pork chops leading to a slightly dry piece of meat. I baked it for over 30 minutes. So be careful! Don't make the same mistake that I did.

Pork Chops in Marsala Wine Sauce with Sauteed Escarole
Makes 9 Servings

All purpose flour
9 pork chops
2.5 lbs baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 large handful basil, sliced into ribbons
2 cups marsala wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 stick of butter
2 bunches escarole, washed and roughly chopped
1-16 ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375oF
1. Trim any excess fat off pork chops. Slice in half width-wise to make flatter chops. Pound with tenderizer if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge with all purpose flour.
2. Heat large saute pan to medium-high heat. Melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add pork chops in batches and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Place in roasting pan to rest. Repeat with rest of butter and pork chops.
3. Once all the chops are seared, deglaze the bottom of the pan with the last 2 tbsps of butter, add mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes then add the marsala wine. Bring up to a boil while scraping the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes then add basil and lemon juice. Remove from heat and pour over reserved pork chops. Cover with foil and bake in oven for 15 minutes until chops are cooked through.
*Alternatively, if you're making a smaller portion, keep mushroom wine sauce on stove. Place pork chops back into sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until cooked through.
4. While pork chops are baking, take the same saute pan, reheat, and add olive oil. Add escarole in bunches while seasoning after each addition. It should wilt down enough to fit all the escarole in one pan. Add chicken stock and rinsed cannellini beans, cover pan, and simmer 5 minutes until beans are cooked through.
5. Serve pork chops and mushroom wine sauce with sauteed escarole.

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