Sunday Dinner: Crispy Pork and Baconed Brussel Sprouts Monday, March 12, 2007Growing up my family almost always sat down to dinner together. Which, if I'm to believe what the TV tells me, is a rarity these days (again I'm not sure if I believe it).
Sunday dinner of course holds a special place in my heart simply because it does. No explanation needed.
I am single and live alone, but I still like to make Sunday dinner for myself. This week it was Nigella Lawson's Crispy Pork Chops and my recipe for baconed brussel sprouts.
I'm not usually a fan of pork but these chops were exactly as they said they would be. Crispy and delicious, and still tender and moist on the inside.
A lot of people say they disdain brussel sprouts but I really think that has a lot to do with improper preparation of them. Steam or boil them too long and they become soggy little piles of slightly gaseous mush. Which unfortunately I think a lot of people do. But if you prepare them properly- perfectly steamed and then allowed to caramelize a bit in the pan with the bacon they are lovely little gems.
Of course the bacon really does help to make everything better, which I believe is the reason bacon exists.
Crispy Pork Chops
2 pork chops, approximately 8 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup ground nut oil or similar, for frying
Trim the thick white fat off the pork chops, cutting carefully around the outside edge. Lay the chops between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and, using a mallet or a rolling pin beat them until the meaty part of the chop is half as thick. You will need to beat around the bone, so turn them over once as you go.
Beat the egg in a shallow wide bowl with the mustard, oregano, and salt and pepper. On a large plate or platter, combine the bread-crumbs with the Parmesan.
Press each of the chops into the egg mixture, coating either side. Then dip the eggy chops into the bread crumbs, covering them evenly. Let them lie on a cooling rack to dry slightly while you heat the oil in a large frying pan. When a small cube of bread sizzles if dropped into the oil, then the oil is hot enough. Cook the chops until they are a deep golden color, about 5 to 7 minutes a side (depending on how thin you've managed to get them and how cold they were before going in the oil).
Baconed Brussel Sprouts
1 package of FRESH brussell sprouts
1 package of hickory smoked bacon
Seriously. It is that easy. 2 ingredients.
I like to trim my sprouts of their hard little nubby bottom. And depending on the size of the sprout itself I will cut them in quarters or halves. I put these into a steaming basket over boiling water to soften up a bit.
I use half the bacon from the package, so about half a pound, and cut it up into little strips. In a large frying pan over medium heat I let them sizzle and brown up.
After the sprouts have soften up a bit, I can best describe it as al dente. They are neither overly soft but yet neither overly hard and raw. I drain them well, because often I'll get a wee bit impatient and toss them into the boiling water if I don't feel like waiting for them to finish steaming. But if you have the patience they will be just fine steamed to al dente.
Toss them into the pan with the bacon and let them caramelize on each side. Usually I give them a good 10 minutes in the pan, turning occasionally. At this point I'll nip one out of the pan and give it a taste, often I find it needs just a hint of salt. Then I'll decant onto my plate and on occasion eat the whole lot myself.