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The Pork Cutlet Saute [Jul. 16th, 2008|11:46 am]
So, I realize that I fell into a pork rut.

No. Go ahead, giggle. Get it all out of your system.

Exorcised your inner 12 year old? Or at least let him/her run around a little? Okay.

I turn to thin cut pork cutlets a lot for really fast dinners. But I did realize that I was fixing them damn near every week. And every week the same – season with Penzey’s Bavarian Blend, salt, sauté, whip ‘em on a plate and serve with apple sauce.

Admittedly, that makes a fine dinner – and I buy all sorts of those individual-serve organic, no-sugar added applesauces with the mango and the blackberry, etc., so that shakes it up a little.
But still. I felt the need to crawl out of the rut and make something different. But still, relatively labor-free.

Picking your pork well is essential. (Oh, look, your inner 12 year old wasn't QUITE done!) I use the thin for quickness, although not the paperthin ones. They’re meant for pounding out. Or making pork shingles. But a quarter of an inch is good. The thicker ones you have to sauté, then finish in the oven and you don’t have time for that right now. Master one thing at a time.

You need to have some fat in that pork. Look at them, all laying there in the meat case. See the pink smooth ones. Blech. See the ones that have little white lightning bolts or white threads running throughout the meat. THAT’S the one you want. Let’s face it, if you were going to eat me or Lara Flynn Boyle, I would be the one with the white stuff running through, Lara the monochrome pink. Prettier maybe – cooks up to shoe leather, definitely. So remember that, next time you’re in a plane crossing the Andes. Sadly, for you, in a crash landing, it would be a breeze to wring Lara’s neck. Me, you’re going to have to fight.

Anyway, you’ve picked the right chops. Now you’re going to season them with salt and pepper. Heat up some olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Just enough to cover the bottom. Or be like me, pour it in, go “Dammit” and pull out paper towels to mop up the excess. (Oh, sure go ahead, lecture me on the evils of the non-stick skillet. To which I’m going to reply, for heaven’s sake, throw it the hell out if the finish is damaged, you moron. And when the culinary artists out there are through blathering on about not being able to create a good fond….whatever, dude, it’s just dinner. When you and Gordon Ramsey come over, I’ll pull out the good stuff, okay?)

When it ripples, when you fling a couple of droplets of water onto it and it hisses like a pissed off cobra, it’s hot enough. Don’t put them in before then, or they’ll just soak up oil. Cook, occasionally shaking them around until they’re half done. Like when you can start to see the cooked part creeping up the side. Don’t wait for halfway, that’s too long. Flip, repeat. When they’re done, remove to a plate. You can keep them warm in the oven – although I find a turned off microwave is an excellent short term solution.

Now you’re going to de-glaze with cognac. Which is fancy talk for throwing a liquid in there, making a lot of (in this case) alcoholic smoke, then scraping up any browned bits, reducing the quantity of liquid to about half. (And yes, if you used a non-non-stick pan, you’d have more brown bits and it would be a better sauce. But odds are, unless you already had the confidence to say “no way I’m using a non-stick I don't care what she says” then you’re going to be about a half hour scraping your pork cutlet off of the pan surface.) I would throw about a quarter cup in. When it’s reduced, I then would add about a quarter to a third of a cup of mango chutney. Stir till it melts. Simmer if it’s not quite thick enough.

Now look at your resting pork. It’s leaked juices. If they’re pinkish, put the pork and juice back in sauce and simmer another five minutes. If it’s clearish to brownish, put pork on your plate, pour juices into sauce, mix and then top the pork.

Feel free to substitute any jam, jelly, fruit butter that makes sense and ditto on the alcohol. Because those are sweeter than mango chutney, I’d use only a quarter cup and consider adding some chicken or other broth to increase the amount of sauce. A dash of balsamic vinegar can liven things up, ditto a teaspoon or two of mustard, especially with the sweeter stuff. Rum and Bourbon are my two favorites alcohols. They go well with mango, peach and apricot. Raspberry, apple, and pear work with cognac, or you can match them to their matching liquor: frambroise, calvados, or poire William.

[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2008-07-16 04:53 pm (UTC)
"although I find a turned off microwave is an excellent short term solution." I'm constantly parading around my kitchen naked to turn off my microwave. If that doesn't work I show it pictures of Sally Struthers :-)
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-07-17 04:54 am (UTC)
I made this tonight! Well, kind of. In the spirit of "be confident enough to make it up as you go along" I bought the pork chops without checking to make sure that that mango chutney I was sure I had in the pantry was really there. It wasn't. So instead I rummaged through the jams and found: fig-port-lemon thyme conserve. I don't even know what the fuck conserve is, and I sure don't know where this jar came from. And I didn't have any cognac, so I used rum. It was great! The only thing I did wrong was not doubling the sauce amounts, because the locust-like gaggle of teenaged girls I'm feeding this week were eating it off the serving spoon instead of demurely ladling it on the chops.

Peas & mushrooms on the side, and wild blackberry pie for dessert, but that gets its own LJ post.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-07-17 12:29 pm (UTC)
Sounds delicious. This is the perfect type of recipe to use up all of those jars of...stuff...that you either got as gifts or they sounded wonderful at the time when you were in that twee little store at the beach and have been languishing on the shelf ever since. When I used to do cooking classes, I tried to teach "master" recipes -- so that you could learn ONE recipe with dozens of variations. Learn 5 of those recipes and really, you be a great cook and stop sweating the fact that you have no idea how to make a souffle.
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