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/

Roasted Corn Salsa

Here is an easy and quick summertime recipe for you, roasted corn salsa. This salsa can go with a variety of meals, especially anything cook-out related. If you go the fresh corn route, recommended, you might have to stop at the store. If you go the canned corn route, you probably already have everything you need in your pantry and refrigerator.

When I did this the first time (pictured), I did not roast the corn long enough, but it still turned out wonderful. Since then, I get a little more browning on the corn, but always forget to take a picture. Can’t win them all, right!

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Roasted Corn Salsa (This can easily be doubled or more)

Ingredients:

8 ounces roasted corn (fresh shucked is best, but not a must)

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 cup red onion, diced

Dash of cayenne

1 tbsp jalapeno, diced (more to taste)

1/4 cup cilantro, diced

1/2 tbsp lime juice

salt to taste

Directions:

If using a cast iron skillet, set skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the corn and roast for 4-6 minutes. Don’t move the corn for 1-2 minutes, allowing it to start to brown. If using non-stick, add just a little bit of EVOO to the pan when turning it on.

Once the corn is browned to your liking, remove from the heat, and add to a bowl with the remainder of the ingredients. Stir well to incorporate. Chill, then serve.

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Baked Beans, Southern Style

Truth be told, baked beans out of a can, such as Bush’s Baked Beans are really quite good. One of my favorite meals is a couple of hot dogs, cut up and heated in a skillet, and then a can of Bush’s baked beans thrown on top and mixed together. Comfort food at it’s finest.

But of course, there is always the element of personal satisfaction of making something from scratch, that rivals or beats your perceived gold standard. These beans are one of those dishes. Incredibly easy to make, and pretty much fool-proof. It takes some time, but after the initial couple of stages, all the time is the beans sitting, simmering in the oven. If you are on a gluten free diet, these beans are perfect for you.

This recipe is from Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. As with most of her recipes, it feeds a small circus troupe. If I am making this for just my family, I half the recipe and make it in a 8×8″ glass dish. If having company over, I leave it as is and use a 9×13″. Give it a try, you will not be disappointed!

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Southern Style Baked Beans

Serves up to 18

8 slices bacon, halved

1 medium onion, cut into small dice

1/2 medium green pepper, cut into small dice

3 large cans (28 ounces each) pork and beans

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup distilled or cider vinegar

2 teaspoons dry mustard or 2 tablespoons Dijon

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Fry bacon in large, deep sauté pan skillet until bacon has partially cooked and released about 1/4 cup drippings. Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels. Add onions and peppers to drippings in pan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.

Add beans and remaining ingredients bring to a simmer. (If skillet is not large enough, add beans and heat to a simmer then transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients). Pour flavored beans into a greased 13-by 9-inch (or similar size) ovenproof pan. Top with bacon, then bake until beans are bubbly and sauce is the consistency of pancake syrup, about 2 hours. Let stand to thicken slightly and serve.

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Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

Have you ever been stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking, seldom branching out from what you know and like best? A few weeks before Easter I started planning our Easter dinner, and couldn’t get the old staples out of my head. Those staples are great for a number of reasons, but I wanted at least one new dish to be new.

Along comes a friend who recommends Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice. First, I did a double take sure that I heard wrong. But lo and behold, I had not. Not having the confidence of a seasoned cook yet, there was no way I was serving that for Easter without trying it first. With two weeks to spare, I had plenty of time. Halfway there, I convinced my wife we needed to try it, no matter how out in left field it sounded. We did, and I baked a couple of simple chicken breasts to go along with it. For me, I turned it into a sort of rice bowl with the chicken cut-up on top, see below.

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It was REALLY, REALLY good. And as odd as the combination sounded, it really came together so nicely, balancing itself out perfectly. So, it was made again for Easter and all our guests really enjoyed it, albeit everyone had to ask what it was when they peered into the bowl. Ha! Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. One of our eaters is on a gluten free diet, which this dish is perfect for.

This is the Easter version. I was running around like a madman trying to bring everything together, that I am surprised I even got a picture of it at all. Sorry it’s not pretty!

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Jalapeno and Green Apple Fried Rice

1 Granny Smith Apple, cored and thinly sliced

1 ½ – 2 Jalapeno pepper, veins and seeds removed, and diced

½ small red onion, diced

3/4 teaspoon fennel or anise

2 TBSP EVOO

1 glove, garlic

1 cup Jasmine Rice

2 cups hot water (more if needed)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Core granny smith apple, leaving skin on, and slice them;  Saute apples, pepper, onion all in evoo and add anise or fennel seed. Add jasmine rice and continue to saute on med low heat till rice is lightly toasted. Add hot water, bring to a boil for 10 minutes, reduce heat to low, tightly cover with seran wrap and lid and continue to cook on low for another 30-45 minutes. You may to add some water over rice at the end, depending on how tender and sticky you want the rice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Two things are amazing with this recipe. First, you will never have believed that you could make pork tenderloin cutlets as tender as these turn out. Second, you will swear there is no way they are gluten free. We have made these numerous times now, and they always turn out fantastic. I am not trying to figure out what other dishes I can make using this cooking technique. Next up, I believe I am going to do chicken cutlets. If you have a small family like mine, one pork tenderloin will provide for two iterations of this recipe. When I get it home from the store, I cut the tenderloin in two, then freeze half to make on another occasion.

If you do not have a Trader Joe’s close by and your grocery store doesn’t carry GF all-purpose flour, there are recipes online for how to make your own. I believe they are usually a mixture to include Rice Flour, tapioca flour, etc. On the GF breadcrumbs, I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed until fine in a food processor. I have used this alternative on these cutlets, chicken parmesan, and many other breaded dishes and I cannot tell the difference between this, and panko or other breadcrumbs.

Enjoy!

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Normally I serve these cutlets with mashed potatoes. Woops, must have forgotten the vegetable by accident! 🙂

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven.

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven, with water in the bottom.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

Baking complete, ready to eat!

Baking complete, ready to eat!

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GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Ingredients

2-3lb pork tenderloin

1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup GF Breadcrumbs (I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed in a food processor)

3 large eggs plus 3 tsp water

1/3 cup avocado or canola oil, divided into Tbl increments

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 2″ rounds. Places each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound until they are thin cutlets (less than 1/4” thick).

Set up your station with 3 separate pie pans. In the first pie pan place the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and gently mix. In the middle pie pan add the eggs and water whisking to combine. In the last pie pan place the bread crumbs.

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbl of oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, dredge a cutlet in flour coating all sides. Next dip it in the egg flipping to get all sides wet. Gently lift up letting the excess egg drip off. Place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs and coat all sides. At this point you can coat a few and cook all at once being sure you do not crowd the pan.

Gently place the cutlets in the hot oil cooking each side about 3-4 minutes or until each side is golden brown. Continue coating and cooking in batches until they are all pan-seared. You will need to add more oil as you cook.

Either in a large roasting pan (that has a lid) with a rack in the bottom or a large dutch oven that has a lid (if you can fit a rack in it great, if not it’s OK) take about 2-4’ of aluminum foil and crumble it up like a snake. You want to rest this on top of the rack or the bottom of the dutch oven. The goal here is to have the food be elevated at least 1” above the bottom of the pan.

Place about 1/2-1 cup of water at the bottom of the pan. The foil or rack can sit it but the water cannot go over top of the foil or touch the cutlets. Take the pan-seared cutlets and place them on top of the foil. It’s okay to stack them if you made a lot. You just don’t want them to touch the water.

Cover the roaster or pan very tightly with foil and the lid. You want to steam these now. This is the trick to get them ridiculously tender. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently remove.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

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Italian Sausage Bake

Like many others, I am always in search for easy and delicious one pot meals. Unfortunately I have found they are few and far between. This is a great one for a weekend, or if you have an opportunity during the week to assemble and bake a couple of hours before dinner. Sausage and potatoes gives you your main course and side dish with some great flavoring from the peppers and onions. We generally will make a side salad to go with this as well. If you have someone in your house on a gluten free diet, this dish is perfect for you!

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Fixing to cover and head into the oven.

A couple of notes for you. Do not cut up the potatoes too small or they won’t hold up well after two hours. I try to stay between 1.5 – 2 inch pieces. Also, the first couple of times I made this I added the tomatoes at the beginning, as the source recipe called for. They definitely don’t hold up for that long. They still had flavor, but they were too mushy for my taste. So I add them at the 90 minute mark when I remove the foil. They hold up much better that way. We also use sweet Italian Sausage instead of spicy as that is just our preference. And if we ever have leftovers with this one, which is rare, I turn it into a sausage and potato hash with eggs for lunch the next day. Yum!!!

Enjoy!

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Ready to eat!!

Italian Sausage Bake

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes, red and/or yellow variety

1 pound honey gold potatoes, cut in to 2″ pieces

2 large bell peppers, chopped length-wise 1-inch

1 large red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

6 links Italian sausage, sweet or spicy

5 sprigs dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large baking dish, toss potatoes, bell peppers, and red onion with one tablespoon olive oil and chopped garlic. Mix well until incorporated and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the sausage links on top of the vegetables. Place sprigs of thyme throughout the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove foil from baking dish, add the tomatoes, mix vegetables around, and bake for an additional 30 minutes (flipping sausages halfway) until the sausage is golden brown.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Katie’s Cucina.

Crunchy Bread and Butter Pickles

I feel like I conquered another challenge this week, to go along with my pulled pork success. Good thing it is the end of the week, or I wouldn’t know what to do with myself now! Ha!

My wife Loves pickles, and can eat them with a variety of dishes. Even though I REALLY do not like pickles, I wanted to make them for her. So about a month ago, I made my first attempt at homemade pickles. The actual pickle making process is easy and straightforward. The waiting time until you can eat them is what stinks. On the first batch, I was so excited for her to try them, the week long waiting period seemed to take forever. Finally that day came, and I basically forced them on her. I think it might have even been before breakfast, but I didn’t want to wait any longer. As soon as she bit in to the first one, my hopes of them being perfect were dashed. I could just tell before she ever said anything they stunk. I was down, but not out!

So, I scour and search the internet looking for the answer. Once I have my mind set on something, there is not much that can change it. I was determined to make a damn good pickle, no matter how long it too. Finally, I stumbled back to a blog I check out every once in a while, White on Rice Couple. They always have pretty interesting recipes, and I noticed they had a bread and butter pickle recipe, utilizing old family pickling techniques. I was intrigued, and this week decided to give it a shot.

I made them on Monday, and decided I couldn’t wait a full 7 days to find out if I had a hit or miss. Friday night we were eating pulled pork sandwiches, and I figured pickles would be a great compliment to the sandwich. So my wife tried them, and Loved them! She kept going back to the jar for more. The ultimate test was, when I asked her if they sold them in the store, would she buy them over her normal favorite pickle brand. She said yes! And trust me, this gal does not pull any punches with my cooking. She is not slow to tell me something stinks when it does, so I trust her honesty in this. You should to!

So, if you like B&B pickles, these are a must try! I cannot confirm that this recipe is for true canning, which in my mind means processing the cans until sealed, and let them sit in your pantry for a year. I know nothing about canning, other than certain recipes are good for that, and others are not. I will keep these cold in the fridge, for up to a couple of months or so, but I know they wont make it that long anyway!

The next time I make these, I will take more pictures of the process.

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Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients

3 pounds crisp cucumbers, slices ¼ inch thick
½ onion, sliced thinly
¼ cup kosher or sea salt
2 cups white vinegar
½ cup water
1 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric

Directions

Toss the cucumbers and onions with the salt in a large bowl. Transfer to a strainer sitting over the sink. Let rest for 1-2 hours. The cucumbers will release a lot of water during this, which is a good thing!
 
Rinse the cucumbers and onions well, and place on a couple of sheet pans lines with paper towels. Add a sheet of paper towels on top as well. Let them dry for 8-10 hours, or even overnight.
 
After the drying period, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and turmeric in a large saucepan. Heat to boil. Add in the cucumbers and onions, and continue to heat until it reaches a boil again.
 
Remove from the heat, and place the cucumbers and onions in canning jars, topping each jar with the vinegar mixture, and close with the lids.
 
Let cool for a few minutes, and then place jars in the refrigerator. Allow at least 4-5 days for the pickles to marinate before eating, to allow all the flavors to blend.
 

Recipe from White on Rice Couple

Roasted Lemon Chicken Legs

How much do we love easy to cook, great tasting meals? Add to that, this one only has SIX ingredients, and two of the them are salt and pepper! Can’t beat that.

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Slowly trying to do better with pictures. If you came to AiC to look at pretty pictures of food, my sincerest apologies!

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Roasted Lemon Chicken Legs

Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Salt and pepper

4 lemons, halved

2 lbs chicken legs

 

Directions:

1. Add oil and garlic to large resealable bag. Squeeze the juice out of the lemons in to the bag, then throw in the rinds. Add salt and pepper, seal, and mix around to incorporate ingredients. Add chicken, then mix some more to coat all chicken pieces. Let sit for three hours in refrigerator, turning halfway through.

2. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a rimmed backing sheet with non-stick spray, layout chicken pieces evenly. Cook for 20-30 minutes, or chicken has reached 165 degrees, flipping once halfway through.

This is adapted from Ree Drummond’s recipe.

Chicken Soup, Tex-Mex Style

This is one of the easiest, and most delicious recipes I make. And I make it fairly often. The soup is delicious, especially if you like a Tex-Mex. The best thing about it is, you don’t even have to remember to thaw out your chicken prior to cooking it. Just throw it in frozen and it does just fine.

I make a cilantro lime rice, putting it in a bowl and then serving the soup on top of the rice.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb chicken breast, thawed or frozen

1 can chicken broth

1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 jar of roasted red peppers

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients in the crockpot, mix it around, and cook on low for 4-5 hours. About 30 minutes before wanting to eat, pull the chicken out, shred, and add back to the crockpot. Enjoy!

This recipe is very slightly adapted from a good friend, and cooking inspiration, Jessica G.