Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Country Platter: Dinner #1 -- Porkchops
Because we raise our own pigs each year, we enjoy some of the most amazing chops on the planet. There is something to be said about a chop that comes from a pig who ate chocolate cake and got it's belly scratched on a regular basis during it's tenure on this Earth. We love our pigs. We take good care of them. We name them. We thank them for their sacrifice. And we kiss them.
Okay I kiss them. They're cute!!
Porch chops are a wonderful, traditional dinner, and you can enjoy them even when you don't raise your own pigs.
Last week we fed the Elders, and we ran out of pork chops back in March.
I bought Winco chops.
And they were delicious.
Now, I am not condoning supporting the "dirty meat market" as I like to call it. We MUCH prefer homegrown, grass fed (and sometimes chocolate cake fed) meat. But I'm also practical.
Sometimes you have to eat Winco meat.
I love SPAM so I can say that. Ha!
I digress yet again.
In the winter, I throw these bad boys in the crock pot with a roux/gravy base/cream of mushroom sauce and cook them on low until they reach Heaven. They quite literally fall apart.
In the summer, we bbq them, because all meat should have some fire put to it's arse at some point. It brings out the Mr. Hyde in all meat.
Whatever way you choose, here's the info:
What You Need:
Pork Chops - bone in (there is great truth in: "nearer the bone, sweeter the meat")
(2 small cans) Cream of Mushroom Soup/Roux Base (only if these are going in the crockpot)
If the chops are frozen, thaw them.
Once thawed, brush each side with olive oil. This is a rule I use for all meats - especially in they're being fried or bbq'd. It really locks in the flavor, and helps the meat brown without sticking to your pan/grill.
Sprinkle each side with garlic salt, and seasoned salt. If I'm feeling crazy, I may follow it up with sea salt. Hey - I said variably healthy!!
If they're going in the crockpot: Place enough undiluted Cream of Mushroom soup in the crockpot to cover the bottom. Place your chops on top. If you are feeding enough people to warrant stacking, place a layer of Cream of Mushroom between the chops. Cover with the remaining Cream of Mushroom and cook on Low all day. This needs to be at least 6 hours, or you can do on High for around 3. But they're best if they're cooked on Low for 6-8. You can also add veggies, onions, etc to your crock pot if you so choose.
**Please Note: I have been trying lately to move away from "Cream of" soups. I don't like things with MSG in them. You can always buy this Cream Soup Base Mix from Augason Farms. It costs $13.19 for over 3 lbs of the stuff and it will last you forever!! MSG-free, and delish. You just add water and you have an incredible "cream of soup" style base. If you're feeling really zealous, you can always make a roux/gravy base yuorself!
When these chops are ready, they should literally fall off the bone. Just stick a fork in them. If they remain intact, they need more time. When you're ready to serve, you'll probably need to do so with a ladle. And watch for the bones. You don't want guest unknowingly biting into one of those. :) Not that it's EVER happened to me!!!
If they're going on the BBQ: Preheat your bbq on medium.You want heat. For sure. But you don't want the juices from the chops to cause the flames to shoot up and burn the meat either.
Place the meat diagonally on the hottest part of your grill, and don't mess with it for at least 6 minutes. People oftentimes touch meat on the grill too much because they get nervous. Leave it the heck alone for a few and let it do it's thing. Shut the lid so the heat gets trapped in there, and only check on it to make sure the flames aren't blackening the chops. We generally bbq chops for around 8 minutes one side, 8 minutes the other side, and then D opens the lid and watches them for the last few minutes.
Cut into one to see if it's done. Just a little bit so you don't lose all the juice. When they're ready, put them on a platter, cover them loosely with foil, and again - leave them alone for five minutes. It takes that much time for the juices to re-distribute throughout the meat. This is the best way to ensure a juicy cut. Let it rest a little. You'll have just enough time to get people seated and say a prayer!
Sides: Grain/Starch - baked potato, garlic pasta, stuffing, rice or garlic bread
Veg - broccoli, green beans, or peas
Fruit - Grapes or Watermelon (I'm stuck on these right now because it's Summer!!!)