A craving for saffron rice this week led to a quest to find the perfect meal to accompany it. While I was thinking and brainstorming about what relatively healthy, adequately flavored accompaniment I could make, I started thinking about one of my father’s favorite dishes to cook. And whether or not I could remember it well enough to adapt it without him correcting me. It’s bad enough when he takes over for me when I’m cooking something “wrong” (like frying an egg), I didn’t want to get corrected publicly on my food blog.
The dish he always made is a pork chop simmered in tomatoes and garlic. But, over Christmas, the conversation with my future sister-in-law turned a few times to how bad for you pork chops are, so I opted for boneless pork tenderloin short ribs. Plus, they looked a lot more appealing in the grocery store.
I decided to sear them, roast them, and then simmer them in my sauce. I wanted the crispy edge of searing the pork, plus it set up a flavor profile with my garlic and oil that I could bring the tomatoes into. I also wanted them to be roasted, so after I seared them, I roasted them for about half an hour. That left me plenty of time to simmer my tomatoes and by the time I added the pork and its drippings back into the sauce, the flavors were all there, and delicious.
Saffron rice is great with this dish because the flavors are really complimentary. And the sauce is liquid enough that you want a bread or rice to soak it up, and the rice does a wonderful job. Usually I hate it when my food touches, but there are certain exceptions (like drippy eggs), and this is definitely one of them.
Roasted Pork Rib with Garlic Tomato Sauce
1 lb pork tenderloin boneless short rib
4 cloves garlic
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp herbs from provence
Salt and pepper
1 can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find them)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 cup saffron rice
The night before you plan on making this, rub your pork with fresh rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Place in a bag and marinate overnight.
When you’re ready to cook, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet. Sautee your pork for about a minute on each side, it should still be uncooked in the middle. Transfer the pork and it’s juices into a roasting pan. Top with the canned diced tomatoes, and roast for 30 minutes at 400*F.
While your meat is roasting, heat an additional 2 tbsp of olive oil in the skillet. Add garlic and rosemary. Saute for a few minutes. Strain your whole peeled tomatoes, but keep the juice because you’re going to use some of it with the rice. Add the tomatoes to the pan, and quarter them- in the pan so the juices get mixed in with the rest. Simmer while the pork is roasting.
In a separate pot, bring 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 tsp butter, and 1/4 cup of the tomato juices to a boil. As soon as it boils, add in your rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, for twenty minutes.
When the pork is done roasting, add the pork, the tomatoes, and the juices to your skillet. Simmer while your rice is cooking.
When the rice has absorbed all the liquid, plate it, topping it with tomatoes and pork.