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Iron-skillet seared chops and peaches

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Here’s a meal that brings out the flavor of the delightful peach, even if, as a yankee, you get store peaches that are routinely hard.

This idea from emeals.com makes a showy dish with the orange fruit setting off the chops and onions.

2 thick boneless center-cut pork chops
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Instructions: Sprinkle pork lightly with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned. Remove from skillet. Add onion to skillet; reduce heat to medium. Saute 5 minutes or until onion is browned and tender. Stir in peaches and broth. Return pork to pan. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until pork is done. Sprinkle with basil.

Cooking with cast iron
If you are tired of wimpy, scratched non-stick pans, maybe it’s time to think cast iron skillets. This is the skillet used over outdoor fires for centuries and it’s still used by great chefs. Cast iron cooks evenly, goes from stove top to oven, and will last a lifetime.

Generally the pans won’t warp, but use them cautiously on electric stoves, the heat from which is usually uneven. Proper seasoning of a new skillet will give cast iron a natural, smooth, non-stick surface, according to whatscookingamerica.net.

Here’s how to do it
Rub a very thin coat of vegetable oil on the pan and then towel it off. It should look dry. Now bake the pan upside down in the oven for 30 minutes at 450 degrees. Put a sheet of foil below it to catch any drips. It might smoke a little. Don’t worry about it.  Let the pan cool in the oven to room temperature.  Repeat the process. Now every time you cook with the pan you are seasoning it again.

Tips for using cast iron
Preheat your cast iron before using. Water droplets should sizzle and roll on the pan. Never pour cold water into cast iron. It will crack instantly. After cooking, empty the pan and let it cool on the stove. Wash with dish soap and water. Rinse thoroughly. Dry with a towel. Rub on a thin coat of oil and store with a paper towel inside. Never put cast iron in a dishwasher.

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