Monday, January 14, 2008

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops and Brown Rice Pilaf

Saturday night I wanted to make something low effort and yummy for dinner. I had been wanting to try Giada Di Laurentis' recipe for Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops for a long time and it just so happened that I had all the ingredients, so I decided to give it a try. I wanted to make something different for the side and wanted to use the brown rice I had just bought so I did a search on and found the Brown Rice Pilaf recipe. Both were delicious and we will definately be having them again. I added golden rasins to the rice while it cooked and added toasted pine nuts after cooking like the suggestions said. Next time I would add the rasins but I wouldn't add the pine nuts because Michael didn't like them, and I didn't really think that they added anything to the meal. I sauteed a small diced onion in the butter before adding in the rice and I think that added a really good flavor to the rice as well. I also served this with corn (for Michael) and steamed green beans for me. Very good!

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

2 large eggs
1 cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
4 (1/2 to 3/4-inch thick) center-cut pork loin chops (each about 10 to 12 ounces)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Whisk the eggs in a pie plate to blend. Place the bread crumbs in another pie plate. Place the cheese in a third pie plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the eggs, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown and the center reaches 150 degrees, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

So I use recipes as guidelines in my cooking and most of the time don't even really read them. Oops. I just read the recipe because when I cut and paste recipes into blogger it smooshes everything together and then I have to decide logical places to divide the ingredients and the steps. I didn't dip the chops in egg at all, and I mixed the parmesan cheese and the breadcrumbs together and then just pressed that into the pork chops. So if you don't want to use egg you could do it that way. I didn't have any trouble with my crust sticking, but maybe it would have been thicker if I had followed directions. Oh well.

Basic Long-Grain Brown Rice Pilaf
From Food Network Kitchens

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup long grain brown rice (about 6 1/2 ounces)
1 (2-inch) strip fresh lemon peel
2 1/2 cups water, or vegetable broth, low sodium canned or homemade (I used 1/2 stock & 1/2 water)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan with a tight fitting lid, over medium heat. Add the rice and lemon peel and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the water and add salt to taste, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until all the water has been absorbed by the rice, about 45 minutes. Please don't lift the lid to give a peek or stir or the rice will not cook evenly.

Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered, for 10 minutes?{once again, no peeking. Fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper and serve.

Cook's Note: Zip up this basic pilaf with one of these easy variations: Add a handful of raisin or apricots to the rice with the water. Add chopped parsley, toasted pine nuts and caramelized onions during cooking or to already cooked pilaf. Add chopped fresh herbs and peas to cooked pilaf.

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