Red Lettuce and Salsa-Braised Pork Chop Wraps

It just melts in your mouth, everyone. If you have time to throw everything in your crockpot, slow cooker, or large pot on the stove with a lid first thing in your day, let it do its thing, and then come back to a deliciously uncomplicated meal.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large pork chops with bone in
  • 12-16 oz jar mild tomato salsa without sugar added
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, rinsed and lower stems removed (you can save these for a veggie scrap soup stock!)
  • 1 Tbsp dried cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup dried white onion flakes
  • 2 tsp dried savory
  • 1 cup tiki tomatoes (or any small yellow-heirloom tomato blend)
  • 1 head of large fresh red lettuce leaves, rinsed thoroughly

Special equipment: slow cooker/crock pot

Inactive prep time: 6-8 hours
Active prep time: 5 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Preparation:

  1. Layer raw pork chops directly in crockpot, then fill with salsa, water, fresh cilantro, and all dried herbs and seasonings. Cover and cook on high heat setting for 6-8 hours.
  2. Layer pork meat and tiki tomatoes (whole or sliced into smaller pieces, your choice) inside each lettuce leaf. Wrap in your hand and eat!

Yasmine’s notes:
With the Leftover Refreshing Beef Wrap, the “C-Sharp” Baby Bella Cabbage Wrap, the Red Lettuce and Roast Beef Wrap, and the Mustard Green-Curry Steak Fajita Wrap as just a few examples out of many out there… a leafy wrap is nothing new in the culinary world.

But with different leaves chosen, each offers different nuances. As I’ve discovered with my Red Lettuce and Roast Beef Wraps in particular, some produce does the best for certain seasonal jobs: cabbage leaves are tougher, drier… better for winter times. Mustard greens, while an equally wonderful choice for warmer, spring-summer times, have their own distinct profiles: sharp and peppery— great for when you need a little fire with your watery-cleanse. (Hence hot ‘mustard’ in the name!)

But when you need something simply cool, rehydrating, and fresh for hot times… you want light, purely watery, and mild. You want something with its OWN distinction for this– something like a red lettuce. Every distinct produce has its own identity for the job!

Plus… maybe you will notice with this recipe that despite the pork to it indeed melting in your mouth, I gush about not the meat… but, if for the pigs that will have died to make this meal? (Sorry to be graphic, but it IS very much so the reality of what it is when you eat meat like I do…)

(i.e. one such example above– Oink, a pig sandwich shop I would frequently pass while studying in Edinburgh. Image source here from Tripadvisor.)

As much as my culture and many others have particularly prioritized meat as such a huge core (with hundreds of pigs and cows and chickens killed daily to feed the U.S. alone— and that’s just to speak of the more ‘popular’ animals), as my family have often said, it’s really not the meat that carries much flavor on its own: it’s the herbs and spices that give it its taste.

Since switching to a starchless way of eating, never have I recognized this more. You use COLOR with vegetables. You have vibrant greens and dark maroons with purples to red lettuces; matching equal medleys of maroons and star shapes to tiki tomatoes; with golden yellows at that— bright true reds to other tomatoes, and deep forest greens to steeped cilantro. You have nuance and difference with produce indeed… while with a pig? A cow? A chicken?

You have protein for certain, don’t get me wrong. You have filling girth, and you have your own sets of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that the average human body uses. But… more and more, I’m finding that palate to be very, very simplistic in its notes: it is pig. Or cow. Or chicken. And in color, it is all pretty much brown. The end. We already know this story. Perhaps at that, the animals we frequently eat are not as worthy of ALL the prioritized attention that they so often get, so much as vegetables deserving a greater place in our spotlight.

Ahem, hint hint.


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