Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fall is coming! Pork Chops with Mustard and Bread Crumbs

We got lucky and had a few days of unseasonably cool weather here last week. My extensive sources (friends on Facebook who live up North) tell me that real fall has arrived for good elsewhere. But not here. We're already warming back up. Real fall won't hit us until November and doesn't really get going until December, which is why I've campaigned for years to move Christmas to January. That, and I could always use another month to get ready. At any rate, when the night temperatures drop into the 50s, it's cause to celebrate and break out the warm food fare and the fire pit. And trade in my flip-flops for my Chucks.

I enjoyed a glass of wine by the fire, then headed to the kitchen to work on dinner. Pork chops with a mustard and bread-crumb crust, sauteed cabbage, and roasted sweet and white potatoes with nutmeg.

For the potatoes, I cut peeled sweet potatoes and unpeeled russet potatoes into large chunks, tossed them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and nutmeg, and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and put them in the oven at 400F.

Then I went outside to check on Pootie and Dinky and how things were going outside.

Fine, obviously.
After the potatoes had cooked about 25 minutes, I started the pork chops. I used boneless loin chops, but you can use any cut you like - just adjust the cooking time according to the size and thickness. You can brine them if you're into that, because I didn't decide we were even having them until about an hour and a half before we ate.

Heat a medium oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chops, then dredge in flour and shake off the excess. Add 1 Tbs. of butter and 1 Tbs. of olive oil to the pan. When the butter is foamy, add the chops.

Brown the chops on each side, then place about a Tablespoon of Dijon mustard on top of each pork chop.

Make a mixture of bread crumbs - I used whole wheat and added about a teaspoon of caraway seeds. You could use rye bread, or you could mix together any whole grain or whole wheat with sage or whatever floats your boat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the pork chops and then dot the breadcrumbs with just a little butter. Put the whole shebang, pan and all, in the oven at 400 and bake until the breadcrumbs are brown and the chops are done in the center. (About 145 degrees F. Get an instant-read thermometer. Seriously. It's not a superfluous kitchen gadget, I promise. I use mine all the time.)

I served mine with some braised red cabbage and the roasted potatoes. Outside is best. Unless you're way up North and it's already snowed or something.

If you would like to smear some dijon and bake some bread crumbs on a pork chop, here's the .pdf.

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