Friday, June 3, 2011

The Pork Chop Won

"Mom, I think this cheese is for Army guys, it's camouflaged."

This is cheese. Cheddar with porter. I bought it because 5 called it Army cheese and there just happened to be a lady in the cheese aisle that gave me the slow nod and half smile. This is the universal sign for "You need to buy that cheese. It could change your life." Unfortunately my neighbor thought the brown outside was chocolate. She confirmed that it is, in fact, wax.
But I'm way ahead of myself.

Today I made an announcement: "I'm making pork chops for dinner. Everyone will sit at the table, at the same time and converse while sharing a meal. This is important if we don't want our child doing D-R-U-G-S when he's a teenager."

To which Hubby replied "It's really hard to make pork chops. There's no fat in them."

This is the second time in my life I've tried to make pork chops. The first time was a disaster. They were over cooked and dry. Which was the first time I heard, "It's really hard to cook pork chops. There's no fat in them." Thanks Hubby. That's super helpful.

I know it can be done because I watched my Neighbor, Margaux, whip them up a couple weeks ago.
I did everything she did. Bought the meat at the same place, set up my assembly line of eggs with a little milk, flour, and Panko bread crumbs and was ready to go.

I also read about 10 recipes on how to do this. Which means I also read that you have to get the center of the pork chop up to 150 degrees at least or bad things could happen. (Insert icky face)
Most of the recipes said it would take about 4 minutes on each side unless they are a little bigger.

I had high hopes for these suckers. I added chopped garlic and spices to the Panko bread crumbs. And some of my fresh herbs from my new baby plants.

I cooked them for 5 minutes on each side. Then another 5 minutes. Then turned them on the sides to get them nice and crunchy.
But that meat thermometer would not get past 126 degrees. It's not broken, I checked. Then I remembered that some chefs flash fry stuff then stick it in the oven to bake the rest of the way. So I did that. I'm starting to panic at this point.
When I finally got the temperature up to 150 degrees I took the pork chops out and set them on a plate to rest for 15 minutes.

Then took out the baby artichokes that had been cooking. And went to find my family.

Hubby was still full from a late lunch with a friend. But he "might have a bite".
5 was fast asleep.
The only thing worse than my kid falling asleep at 5:00pm is waking him up.

Now there has been some talk of me having control issues which I'm still denying and this is why. Did I freak out, start crying or get mad because I have a giant dinner, Hubby's not hungry and my kid fell asleep? No, of course not, because I'm a go with the flow easy breezy kind of gal. I went next door and asked if Margaux and Ballerina girl would like to come over for some pork chops because clearly my family didn't understand the announcement/proclamation plan. They were nice enough to oblige.

I set out a cheese platter with some gorgonzola crackers. The army cheese was included. Suddenly, Hubby appears and sits at the table, 5 wakes up and starts playing with Ballerina Girl. Now it's a party. And I don't have to worry about the whole D-R-U-G-S thing. Whew!

I dish it up to expectant faces.They start eating before I do. I'm not hearing any oohs or ahhs. I try it. Dry and chewy. Then I hear Hubby say "It's really hard to cook pork chops. There's no fat in them." Thanks Honey. Super helpful.
I quickly make a sauce to dip the pork in. Mayo, cayenne pepper and curry. This saved the day.
I still haven't mastered the pork chop but just in case it didn't work out I had a back up plan.

French Vanilla Ice Cream With Whipped Cream And A Sprig Of Fresh Mint.


  1. Sounds like a fun night! Next time, try leaving the chops in the pan, turn the heat down really low and cover them. I love that cheese too, by the way!

  2. You can take the chops out when they are less than 150 degrees.

    #1 There is carryover cooking. The chops temp will rise as they rest.
    #2 There are only an average of 12 cases of trichinosis per year in the US.
    #3 It tastes waaaaay better when it's a tiny bit pink.

  3. Well, at least they looked good. I've never tried cooking pork chops. The Moms always dried them out, but then every meat she ever cooked was too well done.

    Love you.

  4. I sympathize because I love pork chops but I over compensate for their dryness with tons of applesauce (and maybe that is why they serve those together?).

    I don't seem to have the same problem with pork roasts and it might be because I slow cook them in the oven (in one of those bags) or the crock pot. So try one of those cooking bags in the oven or if you want a crock pot recipe for pork chops, I haven't tried this particular recipe yet but others I've tried from this site have been awesome!

  5. Thanks Sarcastic Bastard! I don't remember my mom making pork chops but I just talked to her and she said she cooked them very slowly in the oven........


    Laurie I love sympathy:) I think you and my mom are on the right track. Thanks for the crock pot recipe! I always forget that I have one. Weird.


  6. Karen,

    I can't believe we've never discussed this. I took a whole pork cooking course 4-5 years ago. You put the pan on your gas stove, turn the flame on high to heat the pan. You can test if it's hot enough by getting your fingers wet under the faucet and dropping some water on the pan's surface. If it's hot enough, the droplets should jump and fast! Then you put in a huge slab of salted butter. It should liquify very quickly at which time you add the pork chops.

    Keep in mind that if you wash your meat before cooking, that you should also dry them completely with a paper towel.

    Once the chops are in the pan, you only sear the first side before flipping it over to sear the other side. Then flip it back over when it's completely seared and fry for a minute or two. Then flip it back over for a minute and you're done. The whole process takes 5 minutes on a high flame the entire time. That's all you need for delicious, moist pork chops. When I used to serve it to SwimSwim, he would DROOL and he NEVER previously liked pork chops. They were so good I would only have to season with salt and pepper. No hot sauce needed. No gravy. No apple sauce.

    Let me know when you try again.


  7. Now you tell me!!!!!! Next time we'll skype dinner. Where are you?

    Sent from undisclosed location?


  8. I'm in exotic Switzerland!

    BTW - forgot to tell you to remove the chops from the pan once you're done cooking because although you turn off the flame, the pan is still hot and things continue to cook. When you leave the meat in the pan for a long time, you risk drying it out.

    A Skype dinner sounds divine!! But my hotel's internet connection is ssssllllloooowww...

    Next week?