Now that September is well underway, Clayton and I are deep into school (albeit him from the student perspective, and me from the administrator p.o.v.), the air is cooling, the leaves are rusting, and football is back on the Sunday tube. As I await the Pats/Ravens game, I reflect upon tonight’s repast: a juicy/tender pork chop encrusted with panko and parmesan, some buttery citrusy risotto, and searedsilky Brussels sprouts with hotpeppery sausage crisps. Autumn demands filling flavors, and this plateful of pork topped off my tummy with “Damn that’s good!” deliciousness.
Breaded Pork Chops, Lemon Butter Risotto, and Chorizo Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 6-8oz pork chops (ideally with tenderloin still attached)
3 tbs water
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
12-16 Brussels sprouts, trimmed
5-7 slices spicy sliced chorizo or pepperoni
1 small onion
1 cup risotto
3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup (2-3 splashes) white wine
4 tbs butter
1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
EVOO, sea salt, cracked black pepper, snipped scallions
Then I layer them, cut down down, on a baking sheet, spilling all the spiced EVOO over their mounded bits, before laying my slices of rich paprika’d chorizo sausage over the whole lot. This goes into a 350°F oven to roast for 20 minutes.
First, I saute my onion, which I’ve minced very finely; then I add my rice, which I stir with the hot fat and translucent veg until it’s almost toasted; then I add my wine, which I reduce to a vapor; then I add 3 oz of chicken broth at a time, stirring well and often and constantly, evaporating each addition before adding the next batch of broth, until my rice is silky smooth, tender on the tongue, and steeped in rich white gravy — about 20 minutes.
This meal is tricky because it requires several things doing at once. While my sprouts are roasting and my risotto is being juiced and stirred, I also need to pound out my pork chops until they are thin and tender. I place them both (after rinsing under water and drying with paper towels) in a large plastic bag, sandwich that bag between two layers of dishcloth, and then smack the flat into each chop with the heavy dull edge of my sharpening steel. Using a cross-hatch pattern, I tenderize both slabs until they’re begging for a tongue to melt upon.
Here’s my breading: flour, panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, and a dash each of salt and pepper. First, each chop gets dredged in egg whipped with water, then dredged until dry in the pankoflour mix.
Just before plating, I fetch my sprouts from the oven. The sliced meat has sweat its peppery oils into my nubs of green goodness, which have caramelized on the pan in the spicy drippings. Crispy seared chorizo and crispy faced sprouts…
… accompanied by a perfect pork chop topped with snips of green onions for freshness and snap. A wholesome, fulfilling, stick-to-your ribs supper perfect for an autumn night filled with studying and New England football. As the cool breeze wafts through the windows, I contentedly anticipate my season of jeans, boots, and denim jackets… my meals filled with warmth and richness… my senses full of color, scent, chill, and late-season flavors… and my days peopled with both good old friends and new young friends as company. And to you, my dear readers, I wish nothing but an abundance of the very same.