I’ll forgive you if you don’t believe me after reading my blog, but I actually do try to cook somewhat healthily. That means different things to different people, but for me it tends to include avoiding red meat/lots of meat, gravitating toward recipes that include veggies, skipping over super-processed things like cream-of-whatever soup and Velveeta (mmm, Velveeta…) and JUST SAYING NO to recipes that call for large amounts of cream, butter, and cheese.
OK, I’m lying about the cheese. I eat cheese like it’s my damn job.
In service of this “somewhat healthy” lifestyle, I’ve experimented more and more with healthier ingredient swaps. I’ve been subbing in Greek yogurt for sour cream/mayo for awhile now, and while it doesn’t work perfectly in everything (i.e., things that call for a LOT of sour cream/mayo or derive a lot of flavor from them), it’s probably my favorite and most-used swap. And this is coming from someone who would never eat yogurt on its own (ick).
With this pork, I tried a new swap — evaporated milk for heavy cream. This recipe sounded delicious, but with its entire cup of heavy cream, it had been sitting in my to-make recipe pile for months and never got made. But evaporated milk swap was a success! I’m sure if you did a side-by-side comparison of the two, the heavy-cream version would taste better, but we liked it a lot without. I did a one-for-one swap for this, but I’ve heard of other people being more creative in service of that creamy texture. For example, you could do 3/4 evaporated milk, 1/4 cream, you could add in a tablespoon of cream cheese, or you could try whisking in some cornstarch to thicken things up. I’m interested in seeing how the cream cheese idea works out (obvi), but for now, we were more than happy with the evaporated milk substitute. Success!
PORK FLORENTINE (adapted from Ommy Noms)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 10-oz box frozen spinach, thawed, with excess water squeezed out
1 1/2 pounds pork chops (about 4-6)
salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk (or heavy cream, or whatever combo you like)
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3 – 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet over medium high heat until smoking. Cook seasoned pork chops in batches and brown on each side, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (2-3 minutes per side). Transfer cooked pork chops to a warm plate and tent with foil to keep warm (the internal temperature will continue to rise once the chops are off the heat).
2. In the now-empty skillet, add remaining oil (if needed) and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until softened (3-4 minutes). Add flour and garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Slowly add broth and evaporated milk, stirring constantly. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and simmer until sauce thickens up. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and spinach to create the sauce. Serve sauce over pork.
I served this whole thing over some couscous, and we enjoyed it a lot. Evaporated milk may be my new best friend!