Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pork Chops with Tomato Gravy and Creamy Cheese Grits

Editor’s Note: This post is actually from July but I apparently forgot to post it (I’m assuming the Percocet is to blame). It’s a marvelous recipe and I have made it since with Creamy Cheese Grits, the recipe for which is posted below. So it’s a worthwhile read, even with the nonsensical babbling!

Since I started recipe testing for Cook’s Country, I have become a rather rabid fan of their magazine. The recipes are usually fantastic without any tweaking, easy to make, and short on cooking time. What else could you want? Other than a few more pairs of shoes, longer legs, a Ferrari Modena…but I digress.

Just two days post-surgery, I decided to recreate their Pork Chops with Tomato Gravy. I mention my surgery because, as you will notice, ingredients are missing for various reasons (I forgot them, I didn’t have them, I didn’t know where they were). Apparently narcotics and I will never be best friends.

Here are [most of] the contestants. You’ll no doubt notice celery (didn’t have it), bay leaves (couldn’t find them) and pork chops (just plain forgot) are missing. They did make it into the food, I promise! So we’re off and limping!

I took the directions to “chop finely” loosely – as you can see the bacon is more of a “chop” – but it turned out just fine.

While the bacon is rendering, mix together the ingredients for the rub. It is going to look like a lot for 4 pork chops but go with it. Pour it all on – you will want all that flavor and it’s by no means overpowering.

Once you have pulled the bacon out of the pan, throw the chops on medium-high heat and don’t touch them. Let them get nice and caramelized and brown on one side. You want them to look pretty and glossy – if you mess with them they’re just going to look like…well they’re going to look like you messed with them.

See? Even on drugs I managed to make a pretty and delicious meal. So anyone should be able to pull this one off.

Oh! OH! And I almost forgot the best part! You will probably have sauce leftover after dinner. Save it. Tomorrow morning spray a cute oven-proof dish with olive oil. Throw some sauce into it, toss 2-3 eggs on top and sprinkle with [freshly-grated] parmesan and [freshly-ground] black pepper. Bake at 400˚ for 15 minutes and voila!! – delicious baked eggs. You can thank me later.

Note: If you’re wondering about my prodigiousness with brackets [these things] – I’m trying to remind you to use fresh ingredients in a semi-subliminal way. Or remind you that I’m human and often forget what I’m doing. When I stop [annoying you with these brackets] you won’t even notice; you will know exactly what I’m thinking!

Pork Chops with Tomato Gravy
Courtesy of Cook’s Country Magazine April/May 2012
Salt and pepper
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
4 (8- to 10-ounce) bone-in pork rib chops, 1 inch thick, trimmed
4 slices bacon, finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1 celery rib, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 bay leaf

Combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, paprika, sugar, and cayenne in bowl. Pat chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with spice mixture.

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet. Increase heat to medium-high and cook chops until well browned on 1 side, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate, browned side up.

Reduce heat to medium, add oil, and heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, and garlic and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth, tomato sauce, thyme, bay leaf, and cooked bacon and bring to a boil.

Arrange chops, browned side up, in pan and add any accumulated juices from plate. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chops register 145 degrees, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer chops to serving platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper to taste, remove bay leaf, cover, and keep warm. Stir any accumulated juices from platter into gravy and pour over chops. Serve with Creamy Cheese Grits (recipe follows).

Creamy Cheese Grits
Courtesy of Cook’s Country Magazine April/May 2012

½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
3½ cups water
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 scallions, white parts minced, green parts thinly sliced
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon hot sauce (Reader, have you tried Firefly Hot Sauce from Passage Creek Farm? It’s sure to put hair on your chest but the taste makes it worth it!)
Salt and pepper
1 cup old-fashioned grits
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 ounces shark cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

Puree corn and ½ cup water in blender until smooth, about 1 minute; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add scallion whites and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 3¼ cups water, milk, hot sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil.

Slowly whisk grits into saucepan until no lumps remain. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes.

Off heat, stir in Monterey Jack, cheddar, pureed corn, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with scallion greens.

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh this looks so good! Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try the grits today to go with our Fried Catfish.