Remember shake and bake? When I was a kid, that was a pretty big deal (at least in terms of advertising). Even now, I can’t think of pork chops prepared any better than with bread crumbs. No, they’re not really gourmet, but they are somewhere between everyday-chic and comfort food.
N. and I (J.) decided last week to add pork chops to our menu this past week. After reviewing a LOT recipes on the internet (OK, three), we actually decided on one of Emeril’s, touted as “kicked-up” (of course). The other reason was that it had a garlic mashed potato recipe and a “kicked-up” peas recipe. Peas aren’t N.’s favorite things on the planet, but she will tolerate green beans, so we subbed them for the peas.
So, this is the recipe from Food Network:
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 thin center-cut pork chops (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons Emeril’s Italian Essence or other Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Pecorino
3 tablespoons olive oil
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, recipe follows
Smothered Green Peas, recipe follows
In a medium bowl, combine the milk, garlic, white wine, red pepper, paprika, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir well. Add the pork chops and soak at room temperature while assembling the remaining ingredients, at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a lightly greased wire rack on top of the baking sheet and set aside.
In a large sealable plastic bag, add the bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the black pepper, Essence, and cheese and shake to combine. Drain the pork chops from the milk mixture, one at a time, and add to the bread crumb mixture. Shake to coat thoroughly. (You may need to press the mixture into the chops with your hands.)
Arrange the pork chops on the baking rack and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through and the breading is crisp and golden.
Serve with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Smothered Green Peas.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
3 heads garlic, top 1/2-inch cut away
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds baking potatoes, like russets or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the garlic on a pie pan and drizzle with the oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper, and roast for until the garlic is very tender and golden brown, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the head to release the cloves into a small bowl. Use a fork to mash the garlic until smooth.
Place the potatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium pot and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander. Return the saucepan and over medium heat, cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, add the mashed garlic and butter, and mash using a hand-held masher. Add the cream and continue to mash until thoroughly combined and the desired consistency is reached. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Yield: 6 servings
Smothered Green Peas:
2 slices bacon, diced
1/4 cup diced ham
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
4 cups fresh or frozen sweet green peas
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat begins to render and turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ham, onion and garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the peas, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the peas are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a warm dish for serving.
Yield: 6 servings
What we did differently:
As I said before, we subbed the green beans for peas, and they came out great. I think they came out great because of the bacon. I’m truly of the opinion that you can fix and/or make anything better with bacon.
We didn’t have any usable bread crumbs in the jars, so I just pulsed the heels of a loaf from our bread box. I didn’t have time to toast them or anything like that, but they came out just fine.
We also didn’t have any pecorino, so I just used the same amount of parmesan. As much as I’d like to try the pecorino on the chops sometime, I think that the parm worked just fine.
This really is a great standard meal for a lot of occasions. Its not as fast as shake and bake, but I think that it’s better. Give it a shot, and let us know what you think.