Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Technique: Breaded chops

Has this happened to you - you bread and fry up some chops and get your taste buds all ready for a delicious crispy exterior, juicy meat and end up with a crust that falls off and bone dry overcooked chops. Yuck! However once prepared properly you can say good bye to the dry chop blues and hello to a delicious, quick and cheap dinner that the whole family will love. Breaded pan fried pork chops might seem simple, and they are! But don't let their simplicity fool you, there is a technique to getting something as simple as breaded meats right.

Breaded pork chops are a blank canvas for whatever you want them to be. Looking for something simple and clean? Add lemon wedges to each serving and enjoy. The acidity of the lemon really makes the juicy pork sing. Looking for more comfort food? Make a simple gravy to top your chops with an voila! The flavor profile is up to you!

In the recipe I've included some tips and techniques to breading meat that always yields me great success. Having 3 containers to make your 'breading station' is essential to me. I also prebread my meats and allow them to rest with the breading on them before frying for at least 15 minutes ahead of time. This allows the breading to adhere to the meat and gives you a better final result. The same process outlined here works the same for chicken, pork or beef (think chicken fried steak!). Enjoy!

Breaded Pork Chops
makes 3 servings
3 loin cut boneless pork chops
1 egg
1/4 c flour
approx 1 cup crumbs made from 4 slices of white bread
2 sprigs thyme
1 T chopped parsley
kosher salt
season salt
lemon cut into wedges for serving (optional)
oil for frying, up to 1/2 c

Allow the bread slices to stale during the day or dry out in a hot oven. You want them to be similar to toast texture on the exterior, with out the browning. Once bread has dried out & staled break into chunks and place into food processor with the steel blade attached. Add 1/2 t kosher salt, pepper to taste, thyme removed from stems and parsley. Pulse until you have crumbs. There will be a few larger crumbs, that is ok. You want the majority to be small and crumbly. Break up the larger chunks with your hands. Reserve the crumbs for use later.

Begin by removing the fat strip from the pork chops. I do this because I want to pound these chops from the 1 inch thickness that you buy into thinner larger pieces. If the fat strip is left intact it makes this process a lot harder.

Using a meat mallet or heavy bottom pan pound the meat out until its doubled in size and is half as thick.

Season chops with seasoned salt and set aside while you prepare the breading station.

Make a 3 stage breading station:
you'll need 3 rectangular pieces of plastic wear OR 2 plates and 1 bowl (for eggs)
1st container place the flour
2nd container the egg, whipped up like scrambled eggs, incorporating as much white as possible
3rd container the bread crumbs
a sheet tray with a cooling rack set inside of it to receive the breaded chops.

~*~Kitchen Witch Tip: Drop a few pieces of bread crumbs into the oil. If they sizzle and start to brown after a minute then you're ready to go. If they brown up right away the oil is too hot, remove pan from heat and allow to cool before continuing. If the crumbs don't sizzle at all let the pan heat up more. This is an easy test if you don't have a thermometer available.~*~

Bread chops by placing into the flour first. Coat each side with a thin layer of flour, patting off any excess. Next dip the floured meat into the egg wash. Coat both sides with egg. Third, dip egged meat into the bread crumbs. Coat both sides with crumbs, pressing crumbs into the meat for best adhesion. Place breaded pork chops on the cooling rack and allow to rest for 5 minutes minimum before frying. This resting period is very important: it allows the breading to 'stick' to the meat better by absorbing moisture from the meat as well as the egg in the breading. You will get a better crust with a 5 minute rest. I usually bread the chops then heat up the pan while the chops are resting.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom or cast iron skillet over medium heat until its hot.

Once oil is up to temp fry the chops. Cook for 3-5 min or so on the first side, flipping when the edges are opeque and the breading has browned. Cook on 2nd side, it will take less time then the first side did. You are looking for an internal temperature of 145F for pork. Given that the chops are pounded out this won't take long at all.

Remove chops from the oil and drain. Serve with lemon wedges squeezed onto chops just prior to enjoying.

Nutrition Factsprovided by SparkPeople recipe calculator
Amount Per Serving
Calories 413.7
Total Fat 21.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.1 g
Cholesterol 99.4 mg
Sodium 1,291.9 mg
Potassium 66.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Sugars 0.1 g
Protein 26.6 g
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