The classic pork chop

I adore pork chops, breaded, grilled, pan seared, shakenbake, they are just delicious.  
The key to this love affair is never overcooking them and it is so easy to do with good pasture raised pork.
1.  These chops are NOT packaged in saline and sugar laced "juice".
2.  They come from animals that have been outdoors doing stuff, running around, living it large in the sun and rain and snow and doing pig stuff the way pigs should.  Not in a climate controlled barn over slats of manure pits or or just dark dank barns that I know some local farms do.  
3.  The meat is lean and flavorful it doesn't need much just a light hand cooking it.

Our chops here at Creekside Meadows are the lean center cut, usually bone in although sometimes we do offer boneless.  The tenderloin  is not left on like a t-bone chop.  We usually have them cut at 1" thickness.

I have 2 recipes but only pictures of one because well I had a hankering for breaded chops yesterday and decided to do all of them as breaded but will share the other recipe that I've come to love.  Don't the fancy title (rosemary cream sauce) intimidate you it's really simple.

Okay back to breaded chops.   You can always go the easy way and get a box of ShakeNbake, I do it every once in a while then wonder why did I do that when it has so many additives?

Thaw the chops either in the fridge or a quick cold water thaw in the package.   Pat them dry and liberally do some coarse salt and ground pepper.   If you like the Syracuse Salt Company try some of their flavored salts like a spicy siracha one or the roasted garlic.  
Let the chops come to room temperature.

This is where I do them differently than most recipes.  I dip them in either melted butter or plain yogurt then roll them in my bread crumb mixture.  Some recipes have you using seasoned flour and eggs for dipping which are all good but I go for simple and less dishes to clean.

3/4 cup bread crumbs - I use seasoned pankos or seasoned bread crumbs.  Plain is fine.  Homemade is even better!
1/4 cup parmesan cheese   (out of the container or fresh grind some if you do that)
1 tablespoon dried parsley.  I've also used italian herb mix, oregano or smoked paprika

roll the buttered or yogurt dipped chops in the breadcrumb mixture.  Press it into the meat.

Place on a wire rack on a cookie sheet/roasting pan and roast at 350F for about 30-40  minutes.  If using thicker chops it will take about 45-60 minutes.  
You want an internal temp of 145, the higher the temp the more likely they will over cook so check them at 30 minutes and see if they need a a few minutes longer.
See how they are still a juicy!  Meaty and crunchy is a good breaded chop.

Note the oven temp is 350F   when most recipes will say 400 or higher but that's for not as good of pork as we have!


I've only recently played a bit with brining and find that I do like it when I can remember to do it.
This recipe is adapted from Shannon Hayes Long Way on a Little cookbook.   Shannon introduced me to brining and let's all say Thank you!   Brining really makes for a juicier chop and one that is easily pan cooked without drying out plus you can make yummy sauces!

Brined Chops with Rosemary Cream Sauce (it's easy!)
1 3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons maple sugar, turbinado, sucanat or brown sugar
2-3 chops.   1 inch to 1 1/2 inch thickness (I do 1 inch)
1 tablespoon lard or butter
1 cup dry white wine or meat broth.
1 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons sour cream

Thaw the chops first.   In a medium bowl mix water, salt and sugar.  Add chops and refrigerate 4-6 hours.  Remove and pat dry.   Dump the brine down the drain.  You can now cook with them or refrigerate them for 1-2 days for later cooking.

Let chops come to room temperature about 30 minutes.  As in lock the dogs OUT of the room because mine love chops (bad dogs with good taste!)

Heat a heavy skillet on high heat.  Melt the lard.  Pat dry the chops and add to the pan.  The pan should be large enough to cook the chops all at once with space between them.  If not then just do 2 batches so they don't crowd and not cook properly.   Or use 2 pans which is what I've done for 4 chops.

Back to the pan full of cooking chops- cook 2-3 minutes each side then lower heat to medium/low, the chops should be doing a gentle sizzle sound if not increase the heat as they will just sweat and dry out.   So listen for the sizzle since I didn't my first time and well we had ruined chops.  It was a bad day.    Cook for about 10 minutes or internal temp of 145.   Remove from pan and set aside.

Delicious & Simple Sauce:  pour extra fat from pan and bring heat to medium-high.  Add wine or broth and rosemary to the pan.  Bring to boil, whisk and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, simmer until reduced by half and syrup like (5 minutes).  Turn off heat then whisk in the sour cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.  
Pour sauce over chops at serving.    Don't you feel fancy!  When I make a sauce I feel accomplished and hey!  I made a fancy pan sauce like the chefs on TV.

The original recipe calls for carmelized pears but seriously sometimes that's just too much for me to handle.   I rarely have pears on hand unless in the fall and we prefer fresh warm chunky applesauce and some sauted green beans in little garlic butter for sides.

As we end 2017 I'm busy planning more posts packed with things about how we raise the meats we sell and helping make it easier for you to be comfortable cooking them.

I don't focus on the perfectly balanced diet but more of finding balance, eating more with the seasons (and from our freezer) and keeping it simple, doable and delicious.  Putting good food on the table for our family isn't easy with all we do here at the farm and people often expect farmers to have awesome meals all the time.  I'm here to say it AIN'T SO!!!!   We often have burgers of pancakes for dinner because they are fast and simple.   I know some will gasp where are the vegetables??? OMG they are only carnivores.  Ha, yeah no we are harty omnivores.  This blog is focused more on cooking GOOD MEAT from our farm.

See in a few days as I get  some things caught up around the house and plan some more recipes to share that fit January in CNY.  Remember the farm store is open Saturdays and Sundays Jan-April so come get some good meat right from our farm.  
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