I saw something new in the grocery aisle the other day, and I thought I’d try it. It’s unusual for me to try things like this, as I’m fairly adept at using spices to season things without purchasing a pre-mixed package…but the whole bourbon thing, well, that would make buying a bottle of bourbon necessary–making the dish much more expensive to make. I decided to cheat and use this–it sounded really good.
Now, keep in mind, I’m a pretty frugal cook usually, which means I often have no fear at substitutions. Especially when pork tenderloins are very expensive and I had some perfectly frozen pork chops at home to use, and the pork chops had been bought on sale. I also had had my husband pick out the sweet potatoes, and when I’d glanced at them, they were very small, so I’d told him to get three…
You know how that goes. He found three that were not small or medium, but nice and even for easier peeling. So, I was a bit over on the sweet potato front. We managed to acquire two Gala apples as well as frozen orange juice. We were set.
So to start off, I had five rather large chops–economy ones, so a bit closer to raggedy pork steaks than chops. They covered the bottom of a 9×13″ baking pan, which I lined with foil. I sprinkled the portion of the seasoning mix that I’d mixed with the brown sugar. There was another substitution, only accidental. I had the wrong glasses on, so the small print on the package mislead me–I thought it said 1/2 c. brown sugar…
So, now we mixed the sweet potatoes with the glaze, which I had used undiluted concentrate for instead of regular orange juice–trust me, it was very good! I also didn’t leave the apples in halves–I quartered them and sliced them up into chunks similar to the sweet potatoes–I wanted everything except the chops to be bite sized. The sweet potatoes and apples, along with the orange juice glaze mixture, was poured over the pork chops in the pan. The package said to bake it at 425 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes. I knew that wasn’t going to work with this pan full–so set my timer for 45 minutes to give it a check. (It actually took an hour to bake until the sweet potatoes were tender.)
I then uncovered the chops, fished one out, put it on the plate with a goodly amount of the sweet potatoes and apples. I drizzled a bit of the flavorful juice onto the plate, and served it.
The husband ate it with relish. It really was very good, as well as very easy to make a gourmet dinner. It’s not something I’d want to serve weekly, but…it made a very good change from pork-chops-with-rice-and-mushroom-soup or fried chops. I’m not sure I’d bother using it with pork tenderloin–I’m not overly fond of tenderloin in terms of price. I think it would be very good with a 2 lb. piece of pork loin, however, and will likely prepare it that way when I use this again.
Some people may object to the price of the seasoning package. Since not everyone has a well-stocked spice cabinet, this can be much more economical for a single dish than buying a half dozen bottles of herbs and spices. It’s well balanced, even for someone who is overly critical of things often. In addition, it makes a meal that is gourmet restaurant worthy and much better than many of the meals I’ve paid exorbitant prices for in a restaurant. When calculated against a restaurant meal, it quickly is much more economical than a trip to that restaurant too.
I’m impressed enough that I think I’ll try some more of these McCormick Gourmet seasoning mixes.
How about you? Have you tried any? How did you like them?