Weekend Herb Blogging is being hosted by Anna from Morsels & Musings this week. Brave girl to come back from a wedding to a big project. Oh, BTW Congratulations!
I gave a bit of thought to the post this week, choosing and discarding candidates. We can write about an herb or edible plant (vegetable or flower).
On that basis I had to discard wine (grapes being neither a vegetable, flower, or herb…and once they're fermented, and worthy of notice, well…a bit of a stretch)
Beer, on the other hand seemed to show promise. It's made from grain (plant: barley, wheat, corn, rice) and hops (a flower). Plus, with St. Patrick's Day on the horizon it seemed, somehow, appropriate. (True Irish pub story at the end). Just to be safe, though, I officially choose thyme (a proper herb).
Thyme has had a useful if somewhat checkered history. Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming, the Greeks used it in their baths and the Romans for incense. It's a staple herb of French cuisine and is found in Herbes de Provence and bouquet garni. It has a distinctive flavor and should never be added to Green Bean Casserole (according to my mother and siblings). I love it and use it generously.
There are over 350 varieties (something for everyone). My favorite in the summer is Lemon Thyme which I use to stuff fish for the barbecue. But, it's still winter, sigh…. I'm using winter thyme.
German Pork Chops
2 – 4 pork chops, depending on size, about 12 oz total weight (350gr)
1 tbs olive oil
4 oz mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup beer you can substitute red wine or chicken stock – or Guinness.
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs water
Clean mushrooms, cut in half or quarters if large. Peel and thickly slice onion. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add pork chops and brown, about 6 minutes per side. Remove. Reduce heat to medium. Add paprika and sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add onions and sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add beer and deglaze pan, stirring up any browned bits. Add chicken stock and thyme. Return chops to pan, cover, reduce heat and simmer until chops are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer. Remove chops and keep warm. Increase heat to medium-high. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to sauce, stirring until thickened and cleared. Pour over chops and serve.
Be sure to stop by Morsels & Musings for the the complete recap of all the herb-y (or otherwise) recipes on Monday.
Irish Pub Story: Irish pubs are open every day of the year, almost. We lived on Cobh harbour in Cork. On the Friday before Easter two American Navy destroyers pulled in for a bit of R & R, Shore Leave, and all that. They were going to be in port overnight. We watched the crew disembark, eager for a pint or two or three.
The Friday before Easter is Good Friday. There is not a pub in Ireland open on Good Friday. Well, actually, they're physically open – the doors, that is. It's the only day of the year that the owners get to scrub the pub from top to bottom. Unfortunately for the sailors the sale of alcoholic beverages is strictly forbidden.
Timing is everything…