Monday, December 6, 2010

Pork, Cranberry and Pear Salad

Oh boy! I just had the best dinner! In order to properly feed myself, and make my mom happy, I decided to make a real dinner. My mom is slightly concerned with my wacky eating habits of late. Let’s just say yesterday for breakfast I had a slice of chocolate tart. For breakfast this morning I had some cookies. Several nights last week dinner consisted of lettuce.

Now it’s not that I’m a bad eater, it’s just that there was no food in my house! I returned from my thanksgiving vacation Monday afternoon to a slice of bread and some far-past expiration milk. There were a few onions and maybe some mustard. It was a sad state of affairs. This is how things usually are when I return from a trip, except this time I came back with a cold. It slowly took over and made me lazier and lazier. I managed to buy some milk and cereal from the Dollar General across the street, but beyond that, I had eggs.

After some concern from my mom (talking about protein and nutrients) I decided I should probably go to the grocery store. Armed with this recipe, I bought my ingredients, substituting here and there for what was one sale (I’m cheap too!). I was not disappointed; this was the best meal I had in a while. Please enjoy, and eat your vegetables!

Pork, Cranberry and Pear Salad

1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp thyme
1 lb pork chops
½ tsp coarse salt
½ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp flour
Olive oil
¼ cup shallots, sliced thinly
¼ cup dried pomegranate flavored cranberries (or plain ones)
¼ cup pomegranate-cherry juice drink (or cranberry)
6 cups spinach (baby or regular)
1 ripe red pear, sliced

In a small bowl, mix together mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp thyme and set aside.

Mix together 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp thyme, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper. Rub this mixture over the pork chops (both sides!). Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat, set aside for 5 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. They should be soft and browned. Add cranberries and pomegranate juice and allow to cook down until there is only 2 tbsp liquid remaining. Reduce heat to medium-low and add mustard mixture, cook for an additional minute. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss spinach with 1/3 of the cranberry mixture. Divide spinach among 4 plates. Slice the pork chops and lay one atop each bed of spinach. Pour remaining cranberry mixture over the pork, dividing evenly among the plates.  Devour!

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