Rob and I got to sneak away with the baby after Thanksgiving and ski at the mountain with the most snow (Sunday River in Maine) and I can’t believe how good it felt after missing last season. This photo is from last year and I cannot wait to ski with these people!! Rob is so great at getting us to the top of the hill and I am so thankful.
I think this might be my favorite season to cook in. The cold and snow make us all hibernate so that there is more time to savor ingredients and each other. You know, the stuff that makes life worth living.
And guess what Santa brought a month early?
A freezer full of meat!
This year, in addition to the half cow we buy from Vermont Natural Beef , cousin Ben raised us a pig (and even smoked the ham & bacon) so the cow is sharing space with half of a pig. It feels like Christmas whenever I go in there: beef tenderloin, brisket, prime rib, chuck, mountains of grass fed beef for the best burgers, pork chops, ground pork for Asian Lettuce Wraps, short ribs. Sigh…..
The ham we will cook for Christmas Eve, the tenderloin for Christmas, and the rib roast is always saved for Easter. Having your holidays already mapped out and in your freezer means that our white chest freezer really is my own personal treasure chest. It is especially convenient when we go up to the ski condo: crock pot + beef + skiing + beer = my nirvana.
It has been about two weeks since we got the cow and so far, I have made Beef Stroganoff, steak, meat loaf, burgers, the Asian wraps and these lovely pork chops:
This was a personal mission for me – my husband did not love pork chops growing up, so I am determined to find a way to cook them that he likes. This was a step in the right direction, he said he ‘liked’ them. I have ten more pork chops in the freezer to perfect until he says he loves them, but I will share with you this first version because I loved them.
The best part is the Dijon mustard mixed with the eggs – this is such a genius idea I don’t know why I never thought of it before. It keeps the meat moist and flavorful and would be fantastic with chicken or veal so I will be trying this again.
And baking the pork chops means there is no pan fry splatter to clean up at all, no oil, no mess.
This recipe was adapted from a version in Smitten Kitchen that included browning your own bread crumbs. (I liked it with the panko and it was faster, so I will wait until I have more time for that version but go for it if you love your own bread crumbs.) But the idea to brine the chops for a half hour before meant that they were SO super moist and flavorful, I highly recommend this easy step.
I served them with roasted butternut squash, apples, onions and sage which the kiddos loved and went so well with the pork.
I can’t wait to share with you some of the other recipes I am going to try with all these amazing cuts (Red Wine Beef Stew with Horseradish Sour Cream anyone…). In the meantime if you have any favorite pork or beef recipes please send them my way I would love to hear about them!
Happy Eating, Katie
Breaded Pork Chops (printer version here):
4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Ground black pepper
4 cups panko
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup flour
3 large egg whites
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Arrange 3 plates/trays for breading with the flour, egg mixed with Dijon, and panko mixed with parsley. Sprinkle salt & pepper on the pork then dip into the flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. Place onto a greased cookie sheet. Cook for 20-25 minutes, then let rest for 5 minutes before serving.