Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mustard-Crusted Pork Chops and Honeyed Carrots

Today I was wanting to cook. Really cook, something from scratch, something involved and kind of crazy. Mustard sounded good. I had pork chops I needed to use. And I wanted to bake some bread.

I dug around and found a really good-looking recipe for mustard-crusted pork chops. This website is great if you are looking for something really fancy, or gourmet-ish. Their recipe called for fresh crumbs from french bread. Perfect!

I went through my books to find something authentic, with a baking stone, and steaming, and lots of rising time. I wanted a crisp crust, and chewy inside, nice and light.

French Baguettes

2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast

1 2/3 cups warm water

3 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Sprinkle the yeast into 1 1/4 cups of the water in a bowl Leave for 5 minutes, stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast/

Use a wooden spoon to draw enought of the flour into the dissolved yeast to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a diesh towel and let "sponge" until frothy and risen. (basically just let it sit until is looks kind of spongy and is a little puffy.)

Mix in the flour and add the remaining water, as needed, 1 tbsp at a time, to form a soft sticky dough.

Turn out onto a liglty floured work surface. Knead until soft, smooth, and supple, about 10 minutes. Try to acoid adding to much extra flour while kneading the dough.

Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, turn over, recover, and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch down again, recover, and let rise until doubled again, another 45 minutes.

Divide dough into 2 pieces and shape into 2 baguettes, each about 12 inches in length. Place on a floured baking sheet or a piece of parchment, cover with a dish towel. Proof (let rise) until doubled, about 50 minutes. Cut several diagonal slashes across the top. Bake in a preheated oven, 475 degrees, for 20-25 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding when taped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.

When I baked the bread, I placed my pizza stone on the top rack and a cake pan filled with water on the bottom one. I preheated the oven with them in there. The dough rose on a sheet of parchment paper and when it was ready I slid the parchment onto the stone. This plus the steaming pan of water gave the bread a chewy inside, and a crispy outside.

Okay, after the bread cooled a bit I broke some off, pulsed it in a tiny food processer by Black and Decker that I have to make the fresh bread crumbs.

Pork Chops

2 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp chopped parsley

3 tbsp prepared English mustard, like country dijon, or spicy brown mustard

2 cups fresh breadcrumbs from french bread

4 pork chops, I used boneless, about 1/2 inch

Preheat the oven to 350. Oil a 9x13 roasting pan. Mix melted butter, parselt and 2 tbsp of the mustard in medium bowl. Mix in breadcrumbs.

Spread remaining 1 tbsp mustard on both sides of pork chops. Sprinkle pork chops with salth and pepper. Arrange in prepared roasting pan. Press 1/4 of breadcumb mixture atop each pork chop. Bake pork chop until cooked through, about 35 minutes for 1 inch chops, 20 minutes for 1/2 inch.

Turn on broiler, broil pork chops, crust side up, until golden brown. Watch closely to avoid burning, should take about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

Mark loved these! They have a great mustard flavor. And no, you can't just use regular yellow mustard. Trust me. I used a country dijon, it is brown with dark brown specks in it. Really good. Oren even thought they were delicious, and ate all of it off his plate. I thought it would be a good idea to counterpoint the tangy mustard with some sweet, honeyed carrots.

Easy Honeyed Carrots

1/2 package of baby carrots

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp honey

salt and pepper to taste

Place carrots in a microwave safe bowl with 1 tbsp water. Cover with saran wrap and microwave until tender. Drain water. Add butter and honey, toss to coat. Microwave 1-2 more minutes on high. Add salt and pepper, toss again. Watch your kids eat it right up!

William had one in each hand and was chowing down. They all loved the sweet carrots. And with the honey the sweet flavor has some depth. It went really well with the mustardy pork chops.

I know it's a lot of work to make bread just for breadcrumbs, but one loaf is already gone and we have started in on the other one!

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