Fall is in the air and one-pot cast-iron cooking is right on time. Nothing like being able to make something that smacks of comfort food, but is good for you. This recipe has that going for it, for sure. You may find other versions of this online, but I’ve adjusted it to be low-carb, and even Keto friendly. The recipe here makes four servings; however, the photos will show six servings (I always cook to have leftovers for the next day’s lunch). If you want to make extra, just add 50 percent more (e.g. two more pork chops, 4.5 tablespoons of vinegar). The pork is tender, the veggies a satisfying compliment and the gorgonzola melts all over all of it to provide this warm bite of creaminess. And this cooks within about an hour from start to finish, so you can even pull this off on a week night. I use my cast-iron dutch oven. I can’t imagine cooking this without cast-iron. In fact, I tried. Let me save you the trouble. Don’t try it. It’s ugly.
4 thick-cut boneless pork loin chops
fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 small head of cauliflower, cut into “potato” size chunks
2 zucchini’s cut up to match size of cauliflower
3 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 red onion, peeled and sliced into 8 wedges
1 (8 oz.) package Cremini or Baby Bella mushrooms, whole
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (or extra if you like…)
Preheat your oven to 425*F.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste with a whisk.
Place the mushrooms and the onion wedges in a medium sized bowl. Add the fresh thyme. Drizzle in 2 Tablespoons of the Balsamic mixture, reserving the rest for later, and toss the mushrooms and onions to coat. Set aside.
Heat a large, heavy roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil to the pan, and swirl to coat.
Add the pork to the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside. If you have thicker chops like I did, you may need to add a minute to each side. Do not cook them all the way through.
Add the cauliflower and zucchini to the pan, cut side down, and allow to cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Next add the mushroom and onion mixture to the pan and toss with the cauliflower and zucchini. Saute veggies in the pan on the stove top for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook.
Place the pan in the oven and roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so.
Nestle the pork chops into the vegetables and put the pan back into the oven to finish off the pork. Bake for 10 to15 more minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers the pork at 145*F.
Remove the pork from the pan. Sprinkle the vegetables with a little more salt.
Serve the pork chops with the vegetables, drizzled with remaining Balsamic sauce, and sprinkled with crumbled gorgonzola and chopped parsley.
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