Would you agree with me when I say that pork chops are among the nobler things in life? And that it is one of Mommy Pig’s most popular cuts? It is budget friendly, yet scores high in the taste counter. Eating pork chops may be a prime motivation never to turn vegetarian. I know it’s wise never to say never. But at this point, I can confidently say that eating pork makes me happy.
Pork also gets bad wraps for being unhealthy. I beg to differ here, because sans the fat, pork is actually a lean meat. You can compare it to marbled beef or dark poultry meat, and it will come out to be healthier. This is good news to Filipinos, because we have a lot of pork dishes in our cuisine. Lechon (roast suckling pig), binagoongan (pork in shrimp paste), and adobo (pork in vinegar and sauce) quickly come to mind. It can be safe to say it is our protein source of choice.
I will not go on defending pork as the healthier meat. For now, I want to go back and relish two life moments when I celebrated the fact that I love pork!! And I have pork chops to thank for that.
The first of two was when I first visited Holland Village in Singapore. It was a long subway ride from the city center to get there. When I got off the station, I was completely enamored with the place. It was like walking in a quiet neighborhood with a quaint commercial complex in the middle of it.
I walked the strip to find a place to sit down and enjoy the ambiance. As I passed by this space, it was my hands down choice.
Hang out place: Everything with Fries.
(Screenshot from the Everything with Fries Website)
I found my quiet sitting space, right there underneath Charlie Brown. I absolutely loved this space, the interior, the furniture, the decals on the wall, the giant menu. I pat myself on the back for exploring this side of town.
I got hold of the menu and flipped through its pages. It spoke to me like a sonnet when it read:
Chargrilled Pork Chops with Smokey Sea Salt Fries: Premium bone in loin with house marinade, brown butter & garlic sauce
There was no thinking twice here!
When my order was ready, the server paraded it to me. I looked down at my plate, and I grinned from ear to ear. You would too.
(EWF Chargrilled PorkChops: Photo by Michelle Africa)
SGD21 (PhP722) is quite hefty for a porkchop dish. But with that sight to behold, I had absolutely no complaints. Besides, what could be more perfect that a porkchop served on a wooden board? Right? It came with a siding of fries, that’s crunchy on the outside, and soft, piping hot on the inside. The peppercorn gravy was sinful, and irresistable. The caramelized onions rounded out all these flavors into a medley. I was happy, all by my lonesome. It was mostly because I didn’t have to share my food to anyone!
Just because of this photo, I had to create for myself a comparable pork chop and gravy experience. With the help of my D.I.Y. skills, I know I can make this happen. And so I did what I do, I turned to the internet.
I typed porkchop.
I typed gravy.
A recipe appears — one from an all-time favorite chef of mine, Tyler Florence.
It’s time for Smothered Pork Chops.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.
Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil.
When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings.
Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in.
Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly.
Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce.
Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
A dilemma was to find buttermilk. Buttermilk is nowhere to be found here in Manila. And I mean– nowhere. Thankfully, we can substitute that with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and 1 cup of full cream milk. That is the secret ingredient for the delicious gravy.
Roasted Smashed Potatoes was a twist to our version of a potato side dish. We boiled marble potatoes with the skin on. When it was cooked through, we smashed it with a fork. Right before popping them in the oven, we drizzled them with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. These golden brown spuds were the perfect complement to the chops. With a cup of steamed white rice, plate them side by side, and ladle in the sauce.
(Smothered Pork Chops with Smashed Potato: Photo by Michelle Africa)
This is a winner, day in and day out. Your family will love you for this. To bits.Everything with Fries Holland Village, 40 Lor Mambong, Singapore 277695 www.everythingwithfries.com