Boneless Grilled Pork Chops

Sometimes I may sound like a broken record, stating how much I love America’s Test Kitchen, but I really do! And as you may have noticed, many of my recipes on here are courtesy of them. The one I am bringing you today, is so absolutely delicious and easy, that I do not think I will fix regular pork chops any other way again. This technique turns out perfectly juicy chops, which at least for me is always a challenge not drying them out. To boot, it only takes a few ingredients. The anchovy paste threw me for a few minutes, as I have never actually used it, but I gave in and bought a tube. When I tasted the chops, I never would have guessed that ingredient was used if I hadn’t put it on there myself.

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I served these with a rice pilaf, and they paired together wonderfully. The leftover chops also heated up perfectly the next day for lunch.

Boneless Grilled Pork Chops
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients

6 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or very well-mashed rinsed and dried anchovy fillets)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through outer layer of fat and connective tissue on each chop to prevent buckling. Dissolve salt in 1 1/2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chops in brine and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Whisk together oil, honey, anchovy paste, and pepper to form smooth paste. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Using spoon spread half of oil mixture evenly over 1 side of each chop (about 1/4 teaspoon per side).

FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chops, oiled side down, over hot part of grill and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 4 to 6 minutes. While chops are grilling, spread remaining oil mixture evenly over second side of chops. Flip chops and continue to cook until chops register 140 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes longer (if chops are well browned but register less than 140 degrees, move to cooler part of grill to finish cooking). Transfer chops to plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

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Best Steakhouse Burgers

For those who have always wanted to try making burgers from scratch (from steaks), but don’t have a meat grinder, this is the recipe and technique for you. Not to mention, these are absolutely, hands-down the best burgers I have ever made. We will never go back to buying pre-ground meat again to make burgers. With this technique, you know exactly when your meat was ground, and have absolute control over the fat content.

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This comes from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated, their July/ August issue. There are a lot more explanations provided in the issue that I am not adding to the below, but I think I am hitting all the high points. A couple of items to note are:

1) I cannot find “Sirloin Steak Tips, or Flap Meat” by me, so I use Chuck Steaks (see pic below, not to be confused with Chuck Roast) for the meat. This steak choice came recommended from another great source for grilling, http://www.amazingribs.com.

Chuck steaks being trimmed

Chuck steaks being trimmed

2) For well done burgers, ATK recommends adding a Panade. This is 1 slice of white bread torn into pieces mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk. Let combine for 5 minutes, then mash it to a paste with a fork. Add to the meat right when adding S&P, right before forming the patties. I added the Panade the first couple of times as my wife likes her burgers well-done. The next couple of times I didn’t as we had people over with a gluten restriction. I couldn’t tell the difference with or without it. I am skipping that from now on.

3) The first time I made these, I again stuck to the recipe and added 4 tablespoons of butter. In our opinion, and personal taste, this is WAY too much butter. I highly recommend cutting it in half to 2 tablespoons. The 4 tbsp reminded me of the “Butter Burgers” they serve in Wisconsin, where when your burger comes off the grill, they throw a huge slab of butter on top then add the top bun. First, it is a heart attack waiting to happen, but the extreme butter flavor overpowers the meat.

4) For the food processor, I use a Kitchen Aid 7-cup processor, and it handles the semi-frozen meat with absolutely no problem. I think any decent processor will work for this recipe.

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Meat and butter cubed and going into the freezer

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After the food processor, just prior to forming patties

Best Steakhouse Burgers

Ingredients

1.5 pounds sirloin steak tips (or chuck steak), trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces (recommend just 2 tbsp)

Kosher salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for grill grate

OPTION – Panade – 1 slice of white bread and 2 tbsp milk

Directions

Freeze Meat: Place beef chunks and butter on large plate or rimmed baking sheet in single layer. Freeze until meat is very firm and starting to harden around edges, but still pliable, about 35 minutes.

Grind Meat: Place one-quarter of meat and one-quarter of butter pieces in food processor and pulse until finely ground into rice-grain-size pieces (about 1/32 inch), 15 to 20 pluses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to baking sheet. Repeat grinding with remaining meat and butter in 3 batches. Spread mixture over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat, fat, or butter.

Form Patties: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pepper and ¾ teaspoon salt over meat and gently toss with fork to combine (if adding a Panade, do it here when you toss the S&P in). Divide meat into 4 balls. Toss each between your hands until uniformly but lightly packed. Gently flatten into patties ¾ inch thick and about 4 ½ inches in diameter. Using your thumb, make 1-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-deep depression in center of each patty. Transfer patties to platter and freeze for 30-45 minutes.

Cook Patties: For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high. Clean and oil cooking grates. Season 1 side of patties liberally with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Grill patties without moving them until browned and meat releases easily from grill, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip patties and continue to grill until browned on second side and meat registers 120 to 125 for medium-rare or 130 to 135 degrees for medium, 4 to 7 minutes longer.

Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to buns and serve with toppings.

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Also, as this is the season for grilling, if you are experiencing any issues with your Weber Grill, or need to get a hold of hard to find parts, please go to http://www.qualitygrillparts.com/

Classic Beef Chili

With this cold weather blanketing the country, and the Superbowl less than a week away, I thought it was a great time to post about the best chili I have ever eaten. I found this recipe about 2 months ago and have made it quite a few times since, altering a thing here or there, but mostly keeping it intact.

Of course, like many of my favorites it came from ATK. When the weather really took a turn for the worse this year the first thing my wife asked me to cook was chili. She had a hankering for it, and the canned stuff was no longer acceptable (nor should it ever have been!!). So I scoured the Net, and found quite a few recipes that looked like they would be winners, but at the end of the day, I came back to the trusted folks in VT.

The ingredients as shown makes a large pot of chili, so if I am making it for us and guests, I do it as written. If it is just for our family, I half it and still have some leftovers for lunch the next day. It reheats very well, and almost tastes better the second day. And of course since we live in TX, mine gets turned into a Frito Pie. Simply, a Frito chip base, followed by chili, followed by shredded cheddar cheese. She eats hers over rice, then topped with cheese. Can’t go wrong with either, or with just a big old bowl of chili by itself. If you have someone in your house with a gluten allergy, this beef chili is perfect for you!

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Almost done simmering.

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My Frito Pie version.

Classic Beef Chili

Ingredients

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon dried cumin

2 teaspoons dried coriander

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds, 85% lean ground beef

2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-oz) can tomato puree

Water, as needed

Directions

Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in half of beef. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to simmer gently until beef is tender and sauce is dark, rich, and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes longer. If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; add water as needed when reheating to adjust consistency.)

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Best Drop Biscuits

First I want to say, please pardon my absence over the last couple of months in the blogging world. It was a rough holiday season in many ways, but also a kind one in other ways. I do not plan on drowning you with the details, but wanted to say I am back and will be adding new recipes starting with these awesome Best Drop Biscuits.

In early December, I had to make an unexpected trip to New England and was staying with one of my sisters for a few days. Her and I always discuss food, as I am usually trying to pry her and her husbands great recipes out of them. But one night I was sitting in her living room flipping through her new cookbook, “The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook). As it looks more like an encyclopedia than a cookbook, I was using her book marked pages to see which recipes caught her eye, as I would have needed a week to go page by page. I came across Best Drop Biscuits, and I am telling you since, I could not be much happier! I have tried in the past different biscuit recipes and either I fail, or they are too cumbersome to make. These on the other hand, are the most delicious ones I have had, and are tremendously easy to make. I typically have all the ingredients on hand anyways, so I can make them on a whim at almost anytime, which I have quite a few times now.

Enjoy!

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Out, cooled off for a couple of minutes.

Best Drop Biscuits

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk, chilled

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing the biscuits

Directions

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in a large bowl. Combine the buttermilk and 8 tablespoons of the melted butter in a medium bowl, stirring until the butter forms small clumps.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just incorporated and the batter pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Using a greased 1/4‑cup measuring cup, scoop a level amount of batter and drop onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter, spacing the biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until the tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

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Pan Roasted Fish Fillets

Have you ever completely bombed on a dinner that you thought would be great? I did, tonight and it was bad! I was trying for the first time a Tuna Casserole recipe my wife had from years ago. I was excited as it only had four ingredients. Yup, it was horrible!!

As I was deleting the pictures I had taken of making it (to make sure I never even thought about posting it) I came across this fish dish I made roughly a year ago. This was right when I started to get serious about cooking, and slowly took over all the cooking duties to take that burden off of my wife. This is from ATK, and I believe it was in the first magazine I received from them. It is awesome in it’s simplicity, and can be paired with many different side dishes. I had made a tomato and cucumber salad for the side, and topped the fish with Pico de Gallo. These pictures are from the first time I made this fish dish, and it came out wonderful even for a novice cook.

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Please don’t mind the paper plates! I mentioned we are a nothing fancy type family, right?

 

Pan Roasted Fish Fillets

Ingredients

4 skinless white fish fillets, 1 to 1 ½ inches thick

Salt and pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lemon wedges

 

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Pat fish dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle very light dusting of sugar (about 1/8 teaspoon) evenly over one side of each fillet. Heat oil in 12 inch ovensafe nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Place fillets in skillet, sugar side down, and press down lightly to ensure even contact with pan. Cook until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Using 2 spatulas, flip fillets, then transfer skillet to oven.

Roast fillets until centers are just opaque and register 135 degrees, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

One Dish Sausage Pasta

As I search and search for good, easy recipes to make for my family, I have come across many misses, but this one was a definite hit! It is tasty, easy, and loved by adults, as well as children and toddlers. I haven’t steered away from this recipe, albeit I imagine you can add different meats or spices to suit your needs.

One Dish Sausage Pasta

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 lb smoked turkey sausage (or regular if you choose)

1.5 cups diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel tomatoes and green chiles, Mild

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 oz penne pasta

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions

Directions

1. Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium high heat until just smoking. Add sausage and onions and cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, tomatoes, cream, pasta, salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, cover skillet, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove skillet from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with scallions. Broil until cheese is melted, spotty brown, and bubbly.

Originally from Kevin & Amanda: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/spicy-sausage-pasta.html