Pork Chop Qapla!

on Sunday, April 24, 2011

The cast of characters:

  • A big ol' bone-in pork chop
  • Jerk Rub
  • Apple-Raisin-Pepper Salsa
  • Parsnip puree
  • Bourbon-brown sugar reduction
The salsa is a mixture of finely diced jalapenos, Serranos, poblano, orange bell pepper, red onion, garlic, Fuji apple, raisins, salt, pepper, sugar, cilantro, cumin, white vinegar and lemon juice.

The parsnip puree contains a couple of medium parsnips, a small potato, butter, white pepper and chicken stock.

The bourbon-brown sugar reduction contains pork drippings, brown sugar, salt and pepper, white vinegar and flour.

I rubbed the chop with my homemade jerk rub a couple of hours before dinner to let it really set up in the meat. The jerk rub is as follows (this makes a LOT more than you need, but then you have some around for other meals):
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar; light is best
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.

The pepper part of the salsa was put together a while ago when I made a mess of burritos that I freeze for a quick dinner, I just added a half a diced apple and a handful of raisins to it. I cut a small slit in the side of the pork chop and moved my knife around until I created a large pocket with a small opening. I then stuffed the chop with the salsa until no more would fit.

Then I peeled and cut into small pieces the potato and parsnips for the puree and put them in a small pan with salted water.

I took a large cast iron pan, added a little olive oil and let it get good and hot. I then seared one side of the pork chop for about 2-3 minutes until it got a nice, brown crust. I flipped it over, put my handy-dandy meat thermometer into the thickest part and stuck the whole pan into the oven. Then I started the puree a-boiling.

When the meat thermometer read 150 degrees F, I removed the pan and put the pork chop on a plate to rest. About this time the potato and parsnips were nice and soft so I strained them and tossed them into the blender with a tablespoon of butter, some white pepper and a couple of tablespoons of chicken stock, set the whole thing on "puree" and turned back to the pan with all the delicious pork drippings in it.

Over medium high heat I whisked in about a 1/2 tablespoon of flour into the drippings until it was nicely mixed and then added about two ounces of bourbon, a 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar, a tablespoon of white vinegar, some salt and pepper and a little bit of lemon juice. I kept whisking it until it reached a gravy-like consistency.

The parsnip puree went down first, then the pork chop on top and I drizzled the bourbon mixture over the whole thing.

Served with green beans on the side it was possibly the best composed dish I've ever made. It was sweet, savory and hot at the same time and super tasty! Too bad I was cooking for myself. I can't wait to make it for Kate.

First Homemade Pie Crust

on Monday, April 4, 2011

I found a blog called Cooking for Assholes that has some pretty good recipes in it, but can be way too snarky. If you're not into being insulted as you try new recipes you probably should avoid clicking the link. Seriously, the guy has this "if you can't do this you're too fucking stupid" attitude that gets old pretty quick. Too bad, because the guy knows food and his recipes are, for the most part, pretty awesome.

Anyway, reading one of his posts the other day got me thinking about making another quiche, so I looked at his crust recipe, which I am going to reproduce here without all the profanity and only about half the snarkiness.

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
(If making a sweet crust add 1 tbsp sugar)
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp COLD water

Use your food processor -- don't have one? Get one. If you don't have one you're on your own for the rest of the recipe. All I know for sure is that if you're not using a food processor you should use your finger tips to mix everything so that you don't melt the butter.

Use your food processor, put in the flour and salt and pulse it a couple of times to mix it all together. Add the cubed butter and pulse a whole bunch of times until the dough looks something like oatmeal. Add the three tablespoons of COLD water and pulse until the whole thing forms into a cohesive mass.

Flour your work area, form the dough into a ball and then roll it out with a rolling pin until you get your desired thickness.

That's all there is to it.

Use the rolling pin as a tool to pick up the crust and place it in your pre-greased pie pan. Fill with your favorite ingredients and bake at 375 F for 40 minutes or so.

My quiche had bacon, asparagus, roasted Serrano peppers and a multi-cheese blend.

My mistakes: I didn't see "salt" in his recipe (it was there, I just didn't see it) and I used unsalted butter so my crust came out tender, golden, flaky and bland. I also didn't let the quiche cook long enough, funny because the knife test came out clean. I let it sit for almost a half hour and when I cut into it I got runny eggs in the middle. Fortunately, eggs are pretty forgiving and I was able to put it back in the oven for about ten minutes and they solidified up real nice.

The crust recipe is so easy, and, by the way, it is about a million times cheaper than buying pre-made crusts, that next time I'm going to try making my own pot pie.

Oh, and don't give me that "real men don't eat quiche" crap. That book was a parody.