Monday, April 28, 2014

Not your mom's baked pork chops with cauliflower rice!

I grew up eating pork chops and meatloaf and hamburger helper and tuna casserole.  Why yes, I did grow up in the Midwest.  Why do you ask?  

I still get cravings for some of the recipes my mom made with condensed Campbell's soup (or in our case, store brand condensed soup).  But now I am older (a little) and wiser (a lot) and I am able to create similar flavors with much better ingredients.

For your pork chops you'll need:
  • Pork chops, mine were boneless loin chops about an inch thick.
  • Mustard, about a tablespoon per chop.
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 Tbs. Olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oven preheated to 350 degrees
Start by browning your mushrooms and sauteing your onion in olive oil, doing it by batches (I used about 2 T of olive oil during this process, starting with 1 T and adding more oil as needed).  I always think of the movie Julie & Julia when I'm cooking mushrooms, Julia Child's advice is "Don't crowd the mushrooms" and she is right.  You want to have the mushrooms spread out, so that when they release their moisture, it's not so crowded in the pan that they don't brown.  I like to do this at a medium heat.  Remove the veggies from the and set aside.  Heat your pan to high for the pork chops.

To prep a flour dredge for your pork chops, add the 1/2 cup of flour to a shallow bowl or plate, add the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste, reserving 2 T of the mixture for later. 

Next you'll want to prep your chops.  Start with dry pork chops (I use paper towels to blot mine).  Spread mustard all over the pork chops, then dredge them through the flour mixture and sear in a very hot pan with 1 T olive oil.

Remove the pork chops, reduce heat to medium to medium low and add your last tablespoon of olive oil (or if you're wanting some richness, a tablespoon of butter).  Sprinkle your reserved flour mixture into the oil or butter and create a roux

Cook the roux for several minutes until it is light brown and all of the flour is incorporated.

Return your veggies to the pan, then add your milk.  If you are also adding Greek yogurt (which lends a nice tanginess), whisk the milk and yogurt together first, to try and prevent the yogurt from forming curds.

Salt and pepper to taste, and mix everything together over medium heat.Add your pork chops back into the mixture.  Then cover with foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

When the pork chops are done, let them rest for at least 10 minutes to let the juices disperse.  The final temperature inside the chops should be 145 degrees, use a meat thermometer and please don't go hacking into the chops to see whether or not they're done, when you do that, all the moisture inside the meat escapes leaving behind dry, unpalatable pork.

While your pork cooks in the oven, you can make your veggie sides.  Tonight I'm doing a simple roasted asparagus and cauliflower rice.

What you'll need:

1 lb asparagus
1/2 head cauliflower
2 T olive oil
Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes to taste.

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, if you so choose. Wash your veggies.

Snap the ends off the asparagus stalks and lay them on the sheet.

Mince the cauliflower into rice-like pieces.  I did this with a knife, but lots of people prefer to use their food processor.  I was just too lazy to get mine dirty and then wash it. 


Drizzle olive oil over everything, add your spices and mix it up to make sure all the veggies are lightly coated. Make sure the cauliflower is just 1 layer on the sheet. Then put them it in the oven along with your pork chops for about 20 minutes.  About halfway through your time, stir everything so that it browns evenly.

Make a plate, get out the cloth napkins and eat this delicious meal at a table with some wine!  I recommend a nice dry white. Bon Appetit!