Ever get tired of pasta? We are. And besides, wheat doesn’t agree with some of us and pasta from other grains just doesn’t cut it. I had made a quick braise of pork loin (a method that also works with chicken) and was trying to figure out an accompaniment other than pasta. Grains didn’t seem right. I needed a wide noodle. And they were: great flat leaves of collards, all the ready for slicing into broad bands. Shallow-boiled in salted water until “al dente,” they were the perfect substitute for pasta, and more nutritious too.
This meat braise is a great dish that comes together in under half an hour and is sophisticated enough for a dinner party. I use a small pork loin, not the huge ones that are already packaged, though those would work as well. Or use boneless chicken breast or thighs. Sprinkle the meat with salt and paprika, brown it lightly on all sides, splash on white wine and chicken stock (or add a teaspoon or two of white wine vinegar to chicken stock), pile on sliced peppers and onions, cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes. Add a little sour cream. Sprinkle with herbs. That’s it.
Braised Pork Loin with Peppers and Onions
½-¾ lb pork loin (or boneless chicken)
Paprika and salt
1 medium onion, sliced vertically in thin moon-shaped pieces
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
Optional: thinly sliced poblano pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced
¼ c white wine
½ c chicken stock
2 tbsp sour cream
Sprinkle the pork loin with paprika and salt. Heat vegetable oil in a medium skillet that will hold the pork loin in one piece (or halve the meat). Brown the meat on all sides over medium high heat. Add white wine and let it reduce. Turn down the heat, add the stock and pile the onions, peppers and garlic on top of the meat. Cover the pan and let the mix simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through. Remove the meat and vegetables to a platter. Reduce the liquid in the pan by a little and add sour cream. Pour over the meat and vegetables and garnish with parsley. (For a nice presentation, slice the meat into thin rounds on the diagonal and arrange on the platter.)
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