Thursday, February 2, 2012

An apple a day...

This is from a few days ago, but it's been a busy week or so, what with the youngest kid's birthday and work and all. Speaking of, here's his birthday cake, made and decorated by my lovely wife, Cheri. The design is all hers. She also made the platforms and the slingshot (homemade pretzels). My contribution? Finding the figures (pencil toppers) and thinking of Jordan almonds for the eggs.

Anyway, here's the food. First, the cast of characters:

We had thawed some center cut pork chops, but didn't want to do the same old thing (barbecue seasoning and bake, or Southern style breaded and fried). I was wandering around the kitchen, opening cabinets, staring into the fridge, trying to figure something out, when I caught sight of the jug of apple cider I'd bought weeks before and forgot about. Apple and pork goes together....eureka!

First, marinate the chops in the cider, along with some kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, granulated garlic, cinnamon, clove, and freshly grated nutmeg, for about an hour.

Meanwhile, I shredded some Russets on the mandoline for potato pancakes. Once the chops had sufficiently marinated, I heated up the big cast iron skillet, added half a stick of butter, and started cooking them. I poured the cider from the marinade into a sauce pan and brought it to a boil for a few minutes, then added some more cider and the can of apple sauce I fortified it with some more nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, and also added a little brown sugar. I let that simmer while the chops cooked.

Isn't the steam awesome, or is it just me?

All that processing, I turned my attention to the taters. To the shredded russets, I added a large egg, a splash of milk, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, granulated garlic, Spanish paprika, and some flour. Mixed all that up, buttered up the griddle, and formed out the mixture by generous tablespoonfuls.

When the chops were done, I transferred them to a wire rack on a cookie sheet in the warm oven, then added the rest of the stick of butter to the skillet. Added enough flour to make a roux, then poured in the cider/applesauce mixture. Mixed in some more cider, fortified the spices, and voila! Apple gravy.

Flip the potato pancakes, pop a steamer bag of green beans into the microwave, and it's time for dinner.

Plating: one pancake, a little pile of green beans, one chop. Ladle some of the gravy over the chop, and sprinkle on some shredded colby-jack cheese (sharp chedder would've been better, but you gotta go with what you've got).

Hungry yet?