A favorite of contemporary Cherokees is pork seared in an old cast iron and sprinkled with a few of our old seasonings is hard to beat. Paired with some ramps, greens, mushrooms, and fried squash make this meal a rich blend of farm and forest, with vegetables aplenty. Most of this is prepared the way many grandmothers of this community have. The pork chop is a bit different, though, being cooked without breading or a large amount of oil; I wanted it to be lighter, more flavorful, using our traditional spices, to show that even with modern or store bought ingredients, we can make foods more native, and more true to our own history and culture.
- 4 pork chops
- 1 bunch sochan, wnaegid, branch lettuce, or angelica
- squash favorite variety
- wild mushrooms wisi or milk mushrooms
- red pepper
- wild onion or garlic or powdered (not salted)
- Wash pork. Season with salt, sage, pepper, and chopped wild onions.
- Heat oiled pan on medium heat. Add wild onion or wild garlic. Cook until fragrant.
- Add pork. Sear for 2 minutes. Flip and sear other side for 2 minutes.
- Cook until cooked in the center. Check with meat thermometer or test by cutting a piece.
- Add oil to pan on medium heat.
- Wash and clean mushrooms. Coat damp mushrooms with a mixture of cornmeal with salt and pepper.
- Place breaded mushrooms in hot oiled pan . Fry until golden on one side. Turn periodically to cook evenly, being careful to keep breading intact.
- Add salt and pepper to squash. Place in oiled pan on medium heat.
- Fry on each side until soft in the middle and browned on outside.
- Wilt greens in water until tender. Season as desired.