I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate.
— Julia Child
I made these pork chops Sunday night for dinner, because it’s kind of an involved recipe and I had the time. It turns out, David’s not a big fan of mustard – which I should have guessed because the only condiments I’ve ever seen him eat are ketchup and barbeque sauce – so I’ve been having leftovers for lunch every day this week. I don’t mind, though; the more I eat them, the more I love them. Maybe I should send David out of town for the weekend so I can make them again!
I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen (which I LOVE), who got it from Cook’s Illustrated – the original SK post is here. My comments appear in brackets.
Crunchy Baked Pork Chops
Cook’s Illustrated notes: This recipe was developed using natural pork, but enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) will work as well. If using enhanced pork, eliminate the brining in step 1. The bread crumb mixture can be prepared through step 2 up to 3 days in advance. The breaded chops can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don’t need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time in step 5 to 35 to 40 minutes.
- Table salt
- 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat [I used 5, 3/4-inch chops]
- 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces [I used 5 slices of regular old honey wheat store-brand sandwich bread and had just enough to cover the 5 chops]
- 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons) [I couldn’t find shallot in the store Sunday, so I used regular yellow onion]
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese [Deb from SK would die, but I used the Kraft stuff]
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves [I used dried, whatever the conversion on the bottle said]
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves [ditto]
- 1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard [I had just enough of this for 5 chops]
- Lemon wedges [I did not use lemon at all]
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have about 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. [For me, 15 minutes was just a tiny bit too long, considering they get baked again on the chops – I’d have settled for 12 minutes] (Increase oven temp to 425.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.
3. Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining. [This was very thick for me; in the picture of this step on SK, it appears her mixture was a little thinner, so maybe I didn’t measure the flour carefully. In any event, I had to scrape some off the chops before breading them.]
4. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.
5. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chops registers 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges. [Mine took approximately 20 minutes]
This was so good! I hope you try it!