“That’s beautiful…” was the reaction of a friend when I first posted this image.
It’s delicious, too, and one of my very favorite ‘non-fancy’ fancy dinners: pan-fried pork chops smothered and braised in stock and buttermilk gravy, and French-fried sweet potatoes – topped with a bit of that gravy, some shredded cheese or – more traditional – cheese curds, and freshly chopped parsley.
Mmm, mmm, GOOD.
•1 cup flour
•1 tbsp dried onion slices
•2 tbsp garlic powder
•1 tsp Cayenne
•1 tsp salt – I used my seasoned salt
•1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
•4 or 6 pork chops – I prefer bone-in, but these boneless chops worked pretty well
•1/4 cup olive oil
•1 tbsp minced shallots
•2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
•1 cup buttermilk
•1 bag frozen sweet potato fries, or 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and fry-cut
•Canola oil for deep frying
•Cheese curds or shredded cheese
•Chopped fresh parsley
Note 1: if you use fresh sweet potatoes, soak the cut fries in ice water with 1 tbsp white vinegar for 30 minutes, then dry them completely (a salad spinner works a treat) before frying.
Note 2: this is another case where I use my (surprisingly) handy mini deep fryer to cook the fries. If you don’t have one, use a deep, heavy pot and a frying thermometer (or your own innate skill) to gauge temperature.
Stir the flour together with the dried onion, garlic powder, Cayenne, salt, and pepper in a large, flat-bottomed dish and set aside.
Pat your chops dry with some paper towels and dredge them lightly in the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and then cover the bottom with olive oil. Add the chops in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes per side, then remove to a platter.
(I have a HUGE sauté pan for when I am making 6 chops – if you don’t, you can do this part in batches).
When all the chops are browned, add one tablespoon of the seasoned flour and the shallots to the pan and stir to dissolve and cook the flour a bit.
Add the stock continue cooking, scraping any of those nice browned bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes, until the now sauce has thickened a bit.
Stir in the buttermilk and return the chops to the pan, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes more until the chops are cooked through. Reduce the heat and keep warm.
Now, for the fries. You could be doing this part while working on the chops, but I have found that chatting with dinner guests and sipping wine and pan-frying pork chops, making a roux and then a gravy and also keeping track of my fried sweet potatoes gets to be a bit much.
Heat your oven to 225º and your deep fryer to 350º.
Cook your fries in batches for 5 minutes, if you use frozen sweet potato fries, 10 minutes if you use fresh. If you ARE using fresh, some folk advocate letting the fries cool for 5 minutes after that first fry, then returning them to the fryer for another 3 minutes for extra crispity-ness. Whatever.
Do not crowd the fryer basket or pot. Cook your potatoes in batches and keep the finished bits on a rack in a pan in your warm oven until all are done.
SO. Chops are nicely braised and warm in their pan; and the sweet potatoes are fried and mostly crispy and staying warm, it’s time for dinner!
I like to serve the whole shebang to guests on one large platter – it really does look nice, and folk can choose their chop and how many sweet potato fries they want.
Arrange the fries and the chops on a platter, pour the gravy from the chops over all, and sprinkle with cheese curds and freshly chopped parsley.
Last note: the parsley is NOT just a garnish to be picked off and left at the side of the plate; it truly does add a little extra sumpin’ sumpin’ to the dish as a whole. I happen to think curly parsley has a bit more flavor than the flat-leaf Italian most cook books seem to prefer, so that’s what I use. Try a bit of both and see which type you like best, then go forth and eat your parsley.
We had our poutine and pork with an artichoke and chickpea salad with Persian cucumber, onion, crumbled balsamic Sartori cheese, and a Dijon vinaigrette.
And cookies for dessert.