Sunday, October 9, 2011

The best pork chops ever

Food blogging is hard if you don't do it for a living for a couple of reasons, the first being that most people don't fix a completely unique meal every day of the week. The same stuff makes it on the menu simply because it's what we like to eat but nobody wants to see 20 posts on the same shredded chicken enchiladas. The second reason being that nobody is breathing down your neck waiting for your copy to fill a news hole - I'm a terrible procrastinator.

For the most part, blogging can be sort of of like talking to yourself.

Just in case there is actually someone out there who reads this, the following recipe is definitely worth making. I was trying to think of something different to make. I didn't find any recipes that sounded good to me so I just made one up. I guess I'll call it:

Pork Chops Provolone


3 or 4 1 1/2 to 2 inch-thick center cut rib end pork chops or one 3 lb roast cut into chops
2 cups milk
salt and pepper
1 28 oz can whole Italian plum tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
6 Tbs olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs fresh tarragon leaves, chopped or 2 - 3 tsps of dried tarragon
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 cups of dry Italian-style bread crumbs
3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
8 oz sliced, smoked provolone cheese
12 oz dried angel hair pasta


If you are starting out with the roast, as I did because it was on sale for $1.79 a pound, cut into chops.
Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and soak them in the milk for at least two hours.

While the chops are soaking, make the tomato sauce. Dump the tomatoes in a bowl and use your hands to break them up. You can use canned diced tomatoes but I think the hand-crushed whole tomatoes make a better sauce.
Pour 3 Tbs of olive oil in a sauce pan and turn the burner on low, add the chopped garlic and saute for about a minute until the garlic is fragrant, but don't let it start to brown. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, crushed red pepper and tarragon and simmer for at least one 1/2 hour. If you don't like tarragon, you can substitute fresh or dried oregano or basil instead, but I think tarragon and tomatoes go really well with the flavor of the pork.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Take the pork chops out of the milk and pat them dry with paper towels them dredge them the bread crumbs.
Let the breaded chops sit for a few minutes before browning them in 3 TBS butter and the remaining 3 TBS olive oil - about 5 minutes a side.

Cover the bottom of a baking dish or pan with some of the tomato sauce and lay the pork shops on the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Parmesan then lay the slices provolone over the chops. Pour the remaining sauce over the chops and bake, uncovered, for about an hour.

Serve the pork chops and sauce over a bed of the cooked pasta.

These were some of the best pork chops I have ever had in my life.

I made some of this simple bread to go with it. What the recipe lacks in ingredients it makes up for in taste and texture.
The dough is basically the same one I use for my pizza crusts.

Filoncino - Classic Italian Bread


3 and 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour,plus extra for the counter
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 cup cornmeal
Combine the flour with the yeast and sea salt in mixing bowl  opf a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment. Slowly add 1 and 1/4 cups of warm (110 degree) water. The dough should come together, forming a somewhat sticky,smooth ball. Add a little more flour if the dough is wet or a little more water if it is dry.
Once the dough forms a ball, knead on low for six minutes..Turn the dough out onto the counter,shape into a ball,and transfer to a floured bowl; sprinkle it with a little flour and turn it to coat with the flour on all sides. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in bulk. (Or let the dough rise in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, remembering to bring it to room temperature before shaping it and letting it rise a second time.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Cut it into 3 equal pieces and shape each into a ball, making sure you don’t press out all the air bubbles that have developed (leaving air bubbles intact ensures larger air holes once the bread is baked).Cover with a towel and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven with a baking stone in it to 475 degrees. If you don’t have a baking stone, heat 2 baking sheets instead.
Pat 1 ball of dough into a flat 1-inch high rectangle measuring about 4 inches x 5 inches. Fold the side furthest from you over toward you and seal the seam using the heel of your hand. Turn the rectangle 180 degrees, and fold the side furthest from you over toward you; seal the seam using the heel of your hand. Fold the resulting log in half lengthwise, sealing the edges with your fingertips. Roll into a 14-inch-long cylinder with slightly tapering ends. Repeat with the 2 remaining balls of dough. Cover with a towel and set aside to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes; the cylinders should increase by half their size.
Slash each cylinder diagonally at 3-inch intervals with a razor blade. Sprinkle lightly with flour. Place on a baking peel that has been sprinkled with the cornmeal and dust with flour; slide onto the baking stone. If you don’t have a baking peel, place the loaves on a reversed baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and slide them into the oven.
Lower the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Bake the bread for 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown and crisp, misting with water from a spray bottle 3 times during the first 10 minutes of baking. (Close the oven door quickly each time to prevent heat from escaping and the bread from deflating.) Cool the bread on a rack and serve at room temperature; alternately, freeze the bread in plastic freezer bags for up to 2 weeks and reheat for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
Makes three 12-inch loaves


Emily said...

Oh man. That looks SO GOOD. I wish Marylou wasn't coming today, because otherwise I would be making it for dinner tonight. Excellent post!

Jill said...

Thank you, kiddo.. you really should try it. I think you and Ryan would like it a lot.