Weekly Winner: Hidden Valley’s Got Nothing On These Chops … And Slaw

IMG_0774This week’s Weekly Winner might qualify as the strangest prep ever for pork chops.  I’ve brined them, dry rubbed them, marinated them, breaded them…. you name it.  But until this past week I have never made what was basically homemade ranch dressing, impaled the pork chops with a fork, and soaked them in the dressing prior to broiling.  Never.  But trust me, I will do it again!

In all honesty, it was the Corn-Bacon Slaw that got my attention in this recipe.  I saw the picture of the nice golden brown and delicious pork chops and thought that the slaw would be a great accompaniment.  But the two components are joined together with the fabulous dressing.  The recipe comes from Food Network Magazine and is quick and easy.  It is also yet another excuse to visit my boys at the Paulina Meat Market for more of their fabulous pork chops and house-smoked bacon.

Pork Chops with Corn-Bacon Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 center-cut bone-in pork chops (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 4 cups shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

Preheat the broiler. Whisk the buttermilk, mayonnaise, parsley, vinegar, garlic, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Prick the pork chops all over with a fork. Set on a rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with half of the buttermilk dressing, turning to coat. Let marinate 15 minutes at room temperature.

Transfer the baking sheet to the broiler and broil until the pork is browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove to paper towels and let cool slightly; roughly chop. Add the corn to the drippings in the skillet and cook, stirring, until browned, about 3 minutes.

Combine the bacon, corn, coleslaw mix, tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Toss with the remaining buttermilk dressing. Brush the pork chops with any juices from the baking sheet; serve with the slaw.

Weekly Winner: An Open Love Letter to My Butchers

Grilled Pork chopsI’m just going to put this out there right now.  I love pig.  There is very little you can do to pork and pork products that I don’t dearly love.  And if you take bacon out of the equation (OK, I shed a little tear just now at the thought of that), probably my next favorite part of pork is a nice, big, juicy, bone-in pork chop that is correctly (read: not overly) cooked.

So this week’s Weekly Winner isn’t really a recipe.  Yes, it was the best thing that was prepared in my house all week, but rather than it being a real recipe, it is an open love letter to Paulina Meat Market.  This is my butcher shop.  This is the place I go to feel better.  Some people believe in therapy to feel better about themselves, some people rely on houses of worship to find inspiration, and some pop pills to improve their mood.  Me?  I go to Paulina.  Or the Lincoln Park Zoo but that’s another post.  And don’t worry, I’ve never confused the two and gone to the zoo looking for an exotic rib roast.  At Paulina I can find therapy in the conversations with the butchers, inspiration from just looking in the cases and taking a deep breath to inhale the heavenly aroma of smoked meats, and I always come home with something guaranteed to improve my mood (including a pound or two of their own house-smoked bacon).

Case in point: Grilled Pork Chops with Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic Butter.  The originating thought for this recipe came from Real Simple magazine.  Basically that was the recipe for the garlic-thyme butter.  While they simply grilled chops served with grilled cherry tomatoes, I thought the addition of baby Yukon Gold potatoes would round out the meal a bit.  And I had them on hand.

So this entry does not so much contain a recipe as a personal plea from me.  Find a good butcher shop.  Go there, and get to know the butchers.  Buy the best meat you can afford.  You simply will not be disappointed.  And to all of my boys at Paulina, thank you and I’ll see you soon!

01_paulina02_paulina