Tuesday, March 17, 2009

RECIPE: Tried and True Pork for You(featuring Shallot green beans & Parsnip puree)

These first recipes are of the Tried and True variety. They're easy as pie, and just as delicious. My husband is particularly fond of these pork chops. He'll finish every bite of these chops even after downing a truly gigantic Philly Cheese steak, some chips and a soda for lunch that day(not unlikely).

Maple & mustard glazed pork chops with shallot green beans and parsnip puree::::
I love big meat. That's right.....large, hunks of meat. I hate paying for someone to butcher my meat for me. I have knives, I have hands, I can do it myself. So that’s precisely what I do when I have the opportunity. I mean, I'm not trying to butcher a whole side of beef, I just want to save a few bucks on pork chops. This is where the pork loin comes in. I’m not a big fan of an entire roast pork loin. I feel like it inevitably dries out, no matter how much I stuff it, or wrap it in bacon, it never turns out as well as a juicy, succulent chop. So that’s what I use. I butcher the loin into mammoth chops. I mean it, huge, tender morsels of pretty pink pork. I’m getting hungry.


4 thick cut pork chops(1 ½ inch thick or more)
1/4 cup of maple syrup(use whatever you have...I’m no syrup snob when I’m cooking with it)
1 tbs. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tbs. orange juice
1 tbs. apricot or orange marmalade(I recommend the apricot if at all possible)
1 tsp. brown liquor(you can use bourbon, brandy, whiskey...just nothing that tastes like coconuts)
Pre-heat your oven to 425. Salt and pepper your chops well. There is no s&p in the glaze so make sure the chops are nicely seasoned. Heat a saute pan to medium heat and add some olive oil(enough to just barely coat the bottom of the pan). Add the chops and leave them be for a few mins. It may seem like med. heat is too low to sear these but they’re thick chops and we’re going to leave them in the pan, un-fooled-around-with, for about 4 minutes per side. Now take the pan off the heat, slowly pour the glaze over the chops and pop them into the oven. Leave them in the oven for about 5-7 more mins(checking on it every now and then to spoon some of the glaze off the bottom of the pan and back on top of the chops). "Safe" pork temp. is supposed to be 160. I cook mine to 150 or so and then take it out and tent it to let it rest and come up to temperature. As long as it’s just barely pink inside(don't be scared....a little pink hue is what you're looking for) and around 160 you should be good to go. Serve with the remaining pan juices poured over top.

Shallot green beans:::

I do green beans a million different ways. You can add sesame seeds and sesame oil to them for a wonderfully flavorful side, or onions and mushrooms with butter, white wine, garlic, salt and pepper, or bacon(this one I’ll touch on later.....it’s got a twist). This one is just nice, mild and it complements the pork well:::
4 servings of green beans
2 or 3 medium sized shallots
1/8 cup white wine
1/4 chicken stock
1 1/2 tbs butter
½ tbs olive oil
Toasted almonds are a nice touch but optional
Heat a saute pan to medium low heat. Add 1 tbs. of butter and ½ tbs. of olive oil. Slice 2 or 3 shallots rather thin and add to the pan to sweat. Shallots burn quickly so watch the heat. You just want them soft and translucent. Once they’re almost translucent add the green beans, stock and wine. Cover and let cook for about 8 - 10 mins(cook them to your liking....I like mine different ways depending on what mood I’m in...but just over al-dente is good for this recipe). Take the top off and reduce whatever is left of the liquid in the bottom(there shouldn't be too much). As it's reducing stir in the last ½ tbs of butter(it gives it such a nice glaze). Salt and pepper to taste and add the almonds if you’re using them.

Parsnip puree:::

I love ALL root vegetables. Parsnips are particularly yummy because they’re sweet AND starchy. This combo makes them perfect for a mash/puree. Some people use all parsnip for their puree but I like to add a potato in there to round out the flavor and texture. It makes it a bit more mild.
2-3 parsnips(depending on size)
1-2 potatoes(depending on size)
3-4 tbs butter(you may not need all of this....but if you do it will certainly be yummy!)
1/8 - 1/4 cup whole milk(mixed with some heavy cream)
This recipe is one that you'll have to make by “eye”. Taste, taste, taste it. It will probably take a few tries but it's worth it. I promise. First, peel, chop and boil the parsnips and potatoes. Cut the parsnips a bit smaller than the taters as I find they take a bit longer to cook. Once they’re tender(maybe 20 mins or so) drain them thoroughly and add them to a food processor(a hand mixer works OK, but not as well as the Cuisinart). Add most of butter(maybe reserve a tbs at first) and only half of the cream/milk mixture. Give it a whirl and check out the consistency. It won’t be as fluffy as mashed potatoes so don’t look for that. Look for it to be firm enough to sit nicely on a fork but also smooth in texture. Add the butter and milk/cream until you get this right(it may take a few tries). This is by no means a science. Then salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

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