Wow. It’s been a month since I last posted a recipe. It’s not that I’ve become a slackass or anything – quite the contrary, actually. I started running this summer, so have shaved some width off my volumps, plus I’ve seen a marvelous uptick in my evening social life – all of which are delightful developments I never expected to see in my 40’s. I mean, I have been cooking; in fact, I’ve got several recipes in the queue, so to speak, that I still need to write up. But I’m skipping those and going for the meal that I’m still licking off my lips. It was a crispy baked and breaded thick cut pork chop sitting atop smooth spiced beer-braised beans and melted spinach which filled my belly with just what I needed after a lunch-free day, a couple bike rides, and a quick run around the block. Oh, and Clayton’s out of town, so I needed comfort food because: lonely. And considering the near-freezing temperature already descending upon Boston, the warmth steaming off the plate was pretty damn welcome for more reasons than one.
Pork and Beans and Greens and Beer
1 center cut, 1″ thick, bone-in pork chop
1 can cannellini beans
8 oz fresh spinach leaves
6-8 cloves garlic
1 medium white onion
1 tbs butter
3-4 tbs EVOO
10 oz beer
4 tbs flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
sea salt, cracked black pepper, paprika, parsley flakes, crushed red pepper, Chinese 5-spice
freshly grated parmesan cheese
Then I sear my chop on every meat-surface I can. This means front, back, and the exposed fat “seam” along the narrow edge by holding the chop up by the bone (which I frenched, BTW, to make it a better handle) and sear/rolling it in fat until it crisps to a golden brown. Then I throw the pan into the oven, which is preheated to 325°, for 15 minutes, flipping once to evenly cook through.
Oh, right — and I add spices! Paprika and parsley and lots of black pepper and a few shakes of crushed red pepper and a dash of sea salt and a smattering of 5-spice. This all thickens up nicely while the beer boils off.
At the last moment, I decide to grate some lovely parmesan cheese off a block onto the whole plate. My beans and greens are the gravy, and my crispy, crunchy, tender, moist, flavorful, and hearty pork chop is the main course. I tucked into this plate with complete abandon, savoring every unctuous bite. Frankly, I couldn’t eat it all – but I sure as hell tried.