Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pork & Broccoli Rabe Sandwiches

While we were visiting my parents over the holidays there was quite a bit of lazy relaxing time in front of the TV.  We watched alot of football, alot of football.  With all of the bowl games and the NFL season drawing to a close it was a must for Dad.  There was one night where we managed to escape the foot ball and while my brother was channel surfing he ended up on an episode of Man vs Food.  In this episode Adam was in Philly for a Philly Cheesesteak challenge and while the cheese steaks looked unreal it was actually the roast pork sandwich at Tommy DiNic's that really caught my eye.  The slow roasted pork shoulder, thinly sliced and piled on a fresh roll with aged provolone and broccoli rabe, yum!

Over the weekend I picked up pork chops which I thought I might use in my cassoulet.  That didn't happen so I had to figure out what to do with them for dinner on Saturday night.  I thought about braising them,  thought about pan frying them, I thought about a few things but nothing was really appealing to me.  Then I remember that pork sandwich, of course I remembered it at 5pm when I did have time to make a pork roast, but I did have time to try to use the pork chops in my version of this sandwich.  I threw together a quick marinade let the chops sit, ran to the store for some rolls, broccoli rabe and cheese and went to town.

Pork & Broccoli Rabe Sandwich

2 pork chops
1 clove garlic
1 sprig rosemary
2 whole cloves
salt & pepper
4 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil  - separated
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken stock
garlicky broccoli rabe - see recipe below
2 fresh Italian rolls
150 grams Niagara Gold Cheese - sliced

1.  In a mortar and pestle mash together the garlic, rosemary leaves, cloves, a pinch of salt and a few turns of the peppermill.  Add in 3 Tbsps of olive oil and mash together to make a paste.  Divide the paste between the two chops, rub it on and let marinate for at least an hour.
2.  Once the chops have marinated.  Heat remaining Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown both sides of the chops and remove to a plate.  Add in the red wine and simmer until reduces by half.  Add in the chicken stock and the pork chops.  Lower heat to low and simmer, covered but vented for 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160F. Remove to a cutting board to cool.
3.  Thinly slice the chops and toss in the braising liquid.  Layer cheese, pork and a healthy portion of broccoli rabe onto each bun.

Garlicky Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe - washed and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic - sliced
2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water
salt & pepper

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.   Ad in garlic and saute until soft but not brown.  Toss in the broccoli rabe and coat with the garlicky oil.
2.  Add in water and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to lower and simmer for 20 minutes covered, but vented or slightly askew.
3.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.  Keep warm until ready to put on sandwich.  

I couldn't find a good aged provolone at my local grocery store, so rather than buy the standard deli variety since it was clear the inspiring sandwich had some pretty special cheese on it, I picked up my favorite local cheese, Niagara Gold.  It's made in Jordan Station, ON and is much softer than a provolone and has a nice sharp flavor that I love.  Boy did it ever go well, the Niagara Gold melted beautifully and provided a nice foil for the bitter greens and it all went well with the pork.

As everyone knows, the Boy is a fan of sandwiches, the one catch is he's not a fan of bitter greens.  BUT he did seem to enjoy them on this sandwich, at least enough to eat the whole thing.  He really loved the cheese and the fact that he got a full serving of greens on his sandwich, which meant I wouldn't nag him about eating more greens was even better in his book.

This sandwich is actually a perfect way to use up leftover pork.  I unfortunately have to tweak it next time since we won't be able to have this exact sandwich again for a year!  Not sure what I'm talking about?  Head on over to no reEATS to learn all about it.


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