Saturday, April 17, 2010

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

Source: Cooking for Two

First of all, I continue to be THRILLED with every recipe from this cookbook. I've bought 3 cookbooks this year, and I keep turning to this one when looking for new recipes on the weekend. It hasn't disappointed me so far. I have LOVED everything I've made!

It's been a LONG time since I've made pork chops. At one point, I mentioned them and I remember my husband saying that he hated them. But, there have been a few things he has CLAIMED he hated, until I made my, rather, some cookbook or online source's version. No matter! I love pork chops and the combination of ingredients seemed like they'd be really good. Plus, I've never had pork chops with any sort of breading before.

The only thing I might change for next time is to increase the egg white/mustard/flour combo by one third. I thought there wasn't enough coating for the chops. Part of that may have been the size of my egg whites - if using normal sized eggs, add an extra egg white. Then again, I lack reading comprehension and bought bone-in pork chops.

A note about pork chops: most pork chops now, because they're very lean, are injected with a solution which is meant to increase flavor and juiciness. I prefer to buy "natural" pork, which means there are NO added ingredients. To ensure the pork is juicy, dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in one quart of cold water and let the pork chops sit in the mixture, refrigerated, for a half an hour. The result is somewhat similar to enhanced pork, but the true pork flavor is a little better. Okay, how many freaking times have I said pork in this paragraph? Porky pork pork.

Crunchy Baked Pork Chops

2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Pinch dried thyme
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless center-cut pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, sides slit (slits prevent pork from curling, cut 2 slits, 2 inches apart, on one side of the chop)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 8 pulses. Toss the crumbs with the shallot, garlic, oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then spread them on on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the crumbs, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes. Let the crumbs cool to room temperature and toss with Parmesan, parsley, and thyme.

2. Place 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. In a second shallow dish, whisk the egg whites and mustard together until combined, then whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons flour until almost smooth, with just a few pea-sized lumps. Spread the prepared bread crumbs in a third shallow dish.

3. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray a wire rack with vegetable oil spray and place over a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the chops dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. (If you have previously brined the chops, season with pepper only.)

4. Using tongs, dredge the pork chops in the flour and shake off the excess. Coat the chops with the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Coat all sides of the chops with a thick layer of bread crumbs, pressing to help them adhere. Lay the breaded chops on the wire rack.

5. Bake the chops until the centers register 140 to 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the chops from the oven, and let rest on the rack until the centers register 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

No comments: