This is akin to a stir-fry but with whole pork chops instead of strips. Buy quick-cooking skinny chops, no thicker than a 1/2 inch. For best flavour use fresh ginger instead of bottled—it’s worth the extra minute or so to grate it.
4 organic pork loin, double loin centre chops *
1 Tbsp (15 mL) five-spice powder **
1 tsp (5 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 plums, pitted and cut into wedges
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup (75 mL) dry sherry
1 bunch Swiss chard, coarsely chopped
Rub chops with five-spice. Coat frying pan with oil and set over medium-high heat. Pan-fry chops until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then remove to plate.
Add plums and ginger to pan. Stir-fry until plums start to break down, 1 minute. Remove chops from pan. Pour in sherry. Scrape up and stir in any brown bits from pan bottom.
Return chops to pan and add chard. Cover and simmer, occasionally turning chops over and stirring chard as best you can, until pork is cooked through and chard wilts, 3 to 5 minutes.
* Organic option
Buy certified organic pork—it’s free of growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other chemicals. As an added bonus, the animals are raised humanely.
You can easily substitute your choice of non-farmed white fish for the pork chops. Season fish steaks or fillets with five-spice and pan fry on each side for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until opaque colour turns white.
** Fantastic five-spice
Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices: star anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon, and Szechwan pepper, usually in equal proportions. But the number reference goes deeper than that. Chinese medicine has long used five-spice to restore the balance of the five basic elements: earth, fire, water, air, and metal—in the chi, our bodily life force.
Similarly, the five spices play to the perfect balance of our palate—sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and spicy. To make your own blend, start with equal amounts of whole spices mentioned above and lightly toast, then blend in a coffee grinder.
Each serving contains: 375 calories; 37 g protein; 17 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 7 g carbohydrates; 2 g fibre; 275 mg sodium
source: "Ready, Set...Cook Healthy!", alive #324, October 2009
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