Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops

Sick of plain pork chops?

I have a funny (now) story about pork chops.  When we got married, we were young, and inexperienced in the kitchen.  I wooed my man with a crisp grilled cheese and a side of Pringles in the dorms, but that was about the extent of my skills.  I often purchased those super thin boneless, skinless pork "chops", and baked the daylights out of them, and served with potatoes and a veggie (in the early years, I think canned corn was the only one he would eat).  Finally, after several months, he said something about maybe not wanting to have them again for a bit (I blocked out the original comment, apparently), and we never had pork chops again.

Fast forward about 10 years, and we have brought them back into the rotation, although they're usually a thick, bone-in or boneless chop, and they're marinated and grilled, or carefully baked, so they're not too dry.  He always manages to compliment them, every. single. time.  No. matter. what.  I kid, but here's a recipe I tucked away from an old allrecipes.com email, and tweaked a teeny bit.   These could be made for a freezer meal - we've done another one, Peppered Pork Chops, in our swap before.  Got any fun stories from your early cooking years?

Parmesan Sage Pork Chops

4-6 bone-in pork loin chops (boneless are fine, too)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt (I cut this in 1/2 from the original recipe)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (original recipe said a dash, so you pick)
1 c. soft, plain bread crumbs (I prefer Panko - crispier!)
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (you know how I feel about the green can)
1 tbsp. rubbed sage (could also add some rosemary)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel (definitely put this in - it makes the recipe)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
2 tbsp. butter (I leave this out)

Set up your breading "station": in a shallow dish, combine the flour, salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sage and lemon peel. Place egg in shallow bowl. (Using cake or pie pans, or saving the foam trays you sometimes get from produce, etc. can come in handy when you're breading meat.)  Try using only one hand for the messy job, so you have one clean, unbreaded hand to turn on the faucet and manage any other tasks before you can wash up.  Coat pork chops with flour mixture, dip in egg, then coat with bread crumb mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes.

In a skillet, brown chops in oil (and butter) for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.

To freeze: just transfer the browned chops into a foil baking pan, cover, and freeze.  You COULD skip the browning altogether, and just place the coated chops into your foil pan - saves some calories, and they will brown up nicely in the oven - might need to increase baking time just a little bit more.

To prepare: Thaw in the fridge, then bake, uncovered in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. 

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