Pan Fried Monkfish with Simmered Greens and Mushrooms

Monkfish, Greens, Mushrooms, Cilantro, recipe

Monkfish dish with the nearly forgotten cilantro!

Monkfish is a rather homely (to us — they probably look just fine to each other) denizen of the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.  It allegedly tastes like,  and has the texture of, lobster tail.  I can see the resemblance, but it’s not a fully convincing substitute.  And, actually, most of the fish doesn’t end up available for human consumption — it’s just the tail.  I assume the rest of it gets ground up for feeding at fish farms, or maybe for your pet’s dinner.  I suspect without proof that the rest of the fish may be rather bony.  It’s not something I will buy very often, but the fact that this particular fish was caught locally bent the scales (as it were) here.

Monkfish, recipe

0.8 lb uncooked monkfish tail in an 8 inch skillet

Usually when I do make this, I bake it in the oven.  I decided to try pan-frying it.  It wasn’t going to cook completely through in a skillet, so I cut pieces to thicknesses of one inch or less.  The tip of the tail, and then monkfish “steaks”.

Monkfish, recipe

These actually all fit in that skillet!

 Prep Time: 15 minutes.
Cook Time:  20 minutes.
Rest Time:  None.
Serves 2it generates a lot of water upon cooking.

Pan Fried Monkfish with Mushrooms and Greens

Recipe:  (The fish makes two servings – it generates a lot of liquid upon cooking.)

* 0.75 – 0.85 pounds monkfish, sliced or cut into sections no larger than 1/2 inch thick.
* 1/4 lemon or 1/2 lime, with a slice of either reserved for later
* 1 teaspoon cooking oil (butter, ghee, avocado oil, olive oil, or coconut oil)
* Cracked ground pepper to taste
* Optional small pinch of red pepper flakes
* 2-4 ounces sliced button mushrooms per person (4-8 ounces for two)
* 2-5 ounces cooking greens per person (4-10 ounces for two).  Remove any thick stems from things like Swiss chard or kale.

* For garnish:  fresh cilantro; juice from the reserved slice of lemon or lime mentioned above.

Method:

Marinate the fish in the black pepper and lemon/lime juice for about 10-15 minutes.

Get your oil to sizzling hot in your skillet — then add the fish, layer it around the skillet so that all pieces are cooking, and add the red pepper flakes if you are so inclined.

Reduce heat to medium low, and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes a side.

Flip back to first side for approximately another 30 seconds, and then remove fish but not liquid.   Tent the fish under foil, and let it rest.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet, and some more cracked ground pepper.  There will be a lot of water from the monkfish when you cook; this is where the simmer part comes in.  When they begin to get that shiny “cooking” look on their outsides, add in the greens.  (If you are using older cooking greens — ie, mature Swiss chard or the stems from bok choy, add those in when you first add the mushrooms.)  For the baby greens I used, 3 minutes of skillet time was sufficient.  Otherwise this may take 5-8 minutes.

When the greens are wilted, plate the greens and mushrooms without the excess liquid.  Add the monkfish.

Garnish with a squeeze of lemon (or lime) and with the optional cilantro.

Monkfish, recipe, greens, mushrooms

If you use a lot of greens, do use a larger skillet! (These were the only greens I had left in the fridge on this occasion due to long and involved reasons — personally I’d have preferred more.)  Notice all the juices from the monkfish!

An optional variation for an Asian flavor:  use sesame oil (toasted or untoasted), and add in about a teaspoon of freshly shaved ginger root and upon serving, a splash of tamari sauce (I am partial to San-J’s gluten-free low-sodium tamari/soy sauce, as it is delicate enough for seafood), or a Thai fish sauce.  In such a case, bok choy would be an excellent green to cook with the fish.

Monkfish, recipe, mushrooms, greens

Just about ready to eat!  (Two bites in, I remembered I’d left out the cilantro.  Can’t do that!  Added it – check top photo!!)

PS, the other serving of fish I made was eaten cold, later, on the road.  This really saves on having to decide between Drunken Donuts and Mac’s Steak House, especially since I do NOT like trail mix, and the nuts in trail mix don’t particularly like me.  Nor do I like the “food” at either of those two establishments.

(This recipe was made back in 2014.  Time Machine drifting back through old drafts on WordPress…)

 

 

Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Mushrooms, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quinoa in the Rice Cooker

I have to admit, when I first saw this word, I thought it would be pronounced Kin-Oh-Ah, and went by this misconception for some time.  After all, that’s what it looked like.  People started talking about Keen-Wah, and I hadn’t a clue as to what they meant.  Seriously.

Quinoa, rice cooker,  recipe, broth

Cilantro doesn’t taste like soap to me…

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a “pseudo-cereal” or “pseudo-grain”, and is in the same family as amaranth.  It is native to Peru and was cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures in that region of the world.  It is high in iron and protein, and is considered by some to be a “superfood”, whatever that really means.  (The spell checker isn’t sure, either…)

I tried cooking the stuff a couple of times a few years back on the range, but epic FAIL.  I’m not sure what went wrong, and at this date there’s no point in trying to figure this out.  So until now, I’ve simply been eating it out, or taking it home from the salad bar at Whole Foods.

quinoa, rice cooker, recipe, broth

“QuinoaGrains” by User:Ben_pcc. – Bob’s Red Mill, organic product.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:QuinoaGrains.jpg#mediaviewer/File:QuinoaGrains.jpg

However:  Rice Cooker Quinoa, attempted for the first time tonight, is an Epic Success in this household!  (This is also the first time I’ve tried cooking anything other than sushi rice in the thing — I stumbled upon a whole world of rice cooker recipes that aren’t rice on YouTube the other day…  As the unfortunately-late Leonard Nimoy [Spock] would say:  “Fascinating.”)

Prep time:  5 minutes
Cook time: about 20-25 minutes, I wasn’t watching
Rest time:  with the added veggies, another 5-10 min.
Serves 2.

Rice Cooker Quinoa

* One rice cooker (if you don’t have, use a pot on your range, and watch constantly and perhaps you will have better luck than I did…)
* 1/2 cup quinoa
* 1 cup liquid, I went with nutritious, gelatinous homemade chicken stock.  You can also do boxed low sodium chicken broth, homemade vegetable broth, boxed low sodium veggie broth, or just plain old boring water.
* About ten cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.
* About an ounce of mung bean sprouts.
* Half teaspoon of ground chipotle chili powder.
* Salt and pepper to taste.
* Cilantro for garnish

(Actually, use whatever veggies you have to hand that sound appealing.  The cherry tomato glut was due to having a pot luck dinner cancelled on account of snow, and the mung beans due to an urge for making something Asian for the Lunar New Year, which I posted recently — although this dish was made earlier.  Didn’t want two starches posted in a row!)

Put the quinoa and the liquid into the rice cooker, and set to the ” Brown Rice” setting.  Since my stock is concentrated (and stored in the freezer in small containers), I added enough water to the stock to bring it to a one-cup volume.

Within a half hour or less, the quinoa will be done.

Add in the tomatoes, sprouts and seasonings, fluff with a fork, close lid back down for another ten minutes, then serve with a little (or  a lot) of cilantro.  Or save for workday lunches.

Optional:  If you prefer to sprout your grains or pseudo-grains prior to cooking, these quinoa things will sprout in about two hours of soaking in water.

Quinoa, rice cooker, recipe, broth

More than just rice!

I am thinking there might be a lot of other things to do with this techno-beast.  I bought it shortly before going very very  low-grain in my personal food plan, and this should be a venue for further experimentation!  (PS, I don’t consider myself standard “Paleo/Primal” since I find nutritious value in rice, quinoa, fermented soy, lentils and some other beans, especially if one regards real limits.  And the occasional potato, which is now okay there, it seems.  But I definitely approve of what the overall Paleo movement is trying to bring to the, ahem, table.)

I remain Low Starch!

 

 

 

 

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Brussels Sprouts and Chicken

Up until a few years ago, I despised Brussels sprouts.  Mind you, I liked the rest of the Brassica family (cabbage, broccoli, kale, broccolini….), but them sprout things were just nasty.

Growing up, we’d eat them boiled, and I don’t think we ever found them fresh in the market.  So when I moved out on my own, I never ever bought them.

Brussels sprouts, recipe, chicken

I’m re-uploading LightRoom onto the new computer this weekend. Need more eye-appeal, no?

For several of my late teen years (and early twenties), we would eat Christmas Dinner with our neighbors.  The head of household, Mrs. V., would make her same English-style meal for the occasion every single year.  What I remember adoring was the appetizer of brie heated in a pastry shell, but after that it went downhill fast.  The main was brisket cooked like tough shoe leather (I found out how to make brisket tender years later!) with a side of Brussels sprouts, boiled of course.  This was so bad that the year I had to go in for major surgery the day after Christmas, and was told to be on a “clear liquid” diet for two days previous, I enjoyed my bowl of clear chicken broth (and yes, a glass of clear white wine – of which I didn’t ask advice about, thank you… It WAS CLEAR!) without any pangs of longing while everyone else consumed tough brisket and boiled sprouts.  Yes, I missed the brie, but I knew what was coming… It was SOOooo worth missing it!

Brussels sprouts, it turns out, are best roasted or sautéed to a bit of golden brown.  I love that I can buy them “shaved” so I don’t have to chop them up.  If you buy them whole, do at least split them in half (and cook a little longer than delineated below).

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  15-20 minutes
Rest time: not needed
Serves:  1 main

Brussels Sprouts and Chicken Thigh

1 tablespoon oil (olive or avocado oil).  OR, 1 teaspoon butter plus 2 teaspoons oil.
4 ounces Brussels sprouts, preferably shaved into 1/4 inch slices, or at least halved.
1/2 medium onion, peeled and sliced, roughly diced
1 boneless skinless chicken thigh, fat removed, roughly chopped.
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper (I’ve used the mild Ancho, but Chipotle would be good too)
Salt and pepper to taste.
The juice from 1/2 lime.

Due to the small size of the skillet I used, I cooked the sprouts separate from the chicken/onions.  Plus I wanted to guarantee thoroughly cooked chicken.

So:  On medium/medium-high heat, put in half your oil (or butter/oil) and cook the sprouts.  Add about half of the seasonings (except the lime juice).  This should take about five minutes, stirring frequently.  They will decrease in size as the water steams out.  You are ready when they begin to get brown patches.

Set aside into a bowl large enough for the final dish, then cook the chicken and onion together, with the rest of the oil and the rest of the seasonings (except the lime juice).  This will take about ten minutes — check a larger piece of chicken for doneness by cutting into it, and adjust your cooking accordingly.   Your onions should definitely be translucent.

Combine the chicken/onion mixture with the sprouts, and squeeze the lime juice over the dish, and either serve now or reserve for re-heating later.  This makes a great workday lunch if you have a microwave where you work.  (It’s probably not bad cold, either.)

Scale up for extra meals or more people!

Maybe someday I’ll grow to like carrots…  Ya think??

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Poultry | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Asian Steamed Fish with Cabbage and Mushrooms

In lieu of an Asian bamboo steamer, I used my large Caphalon pot that is oven-safe.

For those who’d like to know: this recipe is both gluten-free and soy-free.

Today in New York City (and presumably elsewhere), Chinatown is throwing its annual Lunar New Year’s parade.  I was going to go with my camera club for the photo and food op, but decided to save money for some larger-scale purchases.  Besides, it’s finally warm enough out there to dig my frozen trash can out of the snow bank, so that the garbage truck can get the “goodies” out of it this coming week!  And, seriously, if I’d gone down to NYC, especially Chinatown, I’d have dropped a few buckets of moolah, of which I’d really prefer not to drop right now.

fish, Asian, Striped bass, recipe, enoki, beach mushroom, ponzu, fish sauce

I ate the head end of the Mystery Fish (to right) for lunch. The bottom end will go to work with me this week. I don’t want to freak out anyone there right now…  Maybe later.

So, Friday night I went to the local Asian market, picked up two fresh fish (one is a striped bass, and I haven’t a clue as to what the other one was).  I also got a couple varieties of mushrooms, for a LOT cheaper than you’ll find them in regular supermarkets (not to begin to mention Whole Wallet), assuming you can even find them elsewhere.  One thing I no longer buy at the Asian market is the frozen seafood farmed under who-knows-what conditions in China or Thailand.  The fresh stuff though — it’s really FRESH!

I was reading up on traditional Lunar New Year foods — they’re actually regionally-dependent, of course.  One thing though is that serving the whole fish is considered lucky.  Don’t get freaked out by the head!  Seriously, we all have one…

The ponzu marinate sauce:  this is NOT the same as the old standby, Kikkoman’s Ponzu Sauce.  For one, there’s no soy at all in this — it’s a nice basic marinate I picked up at Whole Wallet a few months ago.  It’s very citrus-based.  I assume you can also find it online.  Marukan brand, “Ponzu premium sudachi citrus marinate”.  It’s a pale yellow in color.  Ingredients:  water, concentrated lemon juice, vinegar, citrus (sudachi) juice, citric acid, salt, “natural” flavor.”  Okay, I’ll deal with the “natural” flavor.

Asian, Fish, Striped bass, mushrooms, exotic mushrooms

Fish sauce, Ponzu marinate sauce.

The fish sauce:  I’ve run into a couple I like — some of those in Asian markets are really not geared to western tastes — last summer when I was in there, the cashier looked at my Caucasian features and ran back and got me a (presumably) much less fishy fish sauce than the one I’d picked out.   “You not like!”   Oh well.  (I probably should have bought both, to find out if I not like or not.  But I was making a Pad Thai for a potluck, so I went with her choice…)  At any rate, for this recipe I used Thai Kitchen’s premium fish sauce, which came from my regular supermarket.

Anyhow:

Prep Time:  5 minutes or so, this does not count hunting around in the fridge for the beach mushrooms.
Cook Time:  15-20 minutes.
Rest Time:  Just enough to get in some photos.
Serves 4 with a salad, or a white yam noodle side.
Makes great leftovers.
Not for the fish-bone squeamish.

Asian Steamed Fish with Cabbage and Mushrooms

* Cabbage, about 5 ounces more or less, sliced coarsely.
* 2 whole fish, scaled and de-gutted, otherwise whole.  I’d use a white flaky fish or so.  This was striped bass and Mystery Fish.  (Readers are invited to tell me what it was.)
* 1.5 cups water, approximately.
* 1/4 cup fish sauce.
* 1/4 cup ponzu manrinate.  (See note above!)
* 3-4 ounces of mushrooms.  Use what you like or have.  (I was planning on using white button mushrooms until I ran into the enoki and the brown beach mushrooms that I used instead.)
* a couple ounces of mung bean sprouts.
* 1/2 teaspoon powdered galangal root — if you think to buy the fresh stuff, even better! Simply peel and grate up about half a teaspoon and use instead.
* Ground pepper to taste.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

Layer down the cabbage in the bottom of your pot.

Add the fish on top.  The goal is to keep the fish mostly raised above the water on top of the cabbage.  Yep, I had to break my “luck” by cutting the one fish in half in order for it to fit.  But hey, I had my striped bass to fall back on!

Add enough water to just reach the fish.  For me, this was 1.5 cups.

Add the fish sauce and the ponzu marinate — ADJUST RATIOS if your water amount differs from mine.  If you like your food a little less vinegary, add a little less ponzu marinate.  (I’m a sourpuss.  My absolute favorite soup on the planet is a good Chinese hot and sour soup!)

Add the galangal and the ground pepper.

Layer around the mushrooms, bean sprouts, and any other appropriate veggie you might have to hand — bok choy comes to mind, and I wish I’d bought some!  If you use button mushrooms, halve or quarter them first, depending on size.  With enoki and beach, cut off the rhizomes at the bottom (that’s their “roots”, in general parlance).   I try not to drown the veggies and mushrooms when setting them down.

Put the pot in that HOT oven.  Covered!

The meal is ready in 15-20 minutes (less if you use much smaller fish).

I could definitely have used more cabbage!  And, Happy Lunar New Year, whether you celebrate or not.

 

 

Posted in Asian & Asian Influenced, Cooking, Seafood | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lowly Spud: Mashed Potatoes

Does anyone really need a recipe for mashed potatoes? Perhaps not, but I thought I’d put in a plug for my favorite home-cooked mashed potato recipe.  (I remember my early cooking days when I simply bought a box of Potato Buds and thought it good.  No, no, and NO!)

Yukon Gold, Mashed Potato

I like my potatoes gloriously Gold and in vast moderation.

For me, it starts with Gold potatoes. Yukon Gold or otherwise. I find that the other varieties I’ve tried (sorry, Russets) are too bland and require way too much salt to bring out any flavor, and personally I never cook with them. (Russets are fine for steak fries, which are not something I plan to cook at home.  Steak fries are strictly a 2-3 times a year outside indulgence…) But the method below should work with whatever potato you prefer, or can scare up.   Sometimes, after all, you can’t win the Gold!

There are two schools of thought out there about the skins. One side says potato skins are healthy, and another that they’re not. For me, the verdict is still pending, so I simply remove any bad parts – anything green, broken, or beginning to bud. I don’t eat potatoes often enough that the skins are going to do me any harm, if that’s actually the case. (These today were mostly removed because the potatoes were getting on the old side and beginning to show their age.) Do as you choose.

The nutmeg is an addition an old housemate brought to my table years ago. His grandmother in Germany used to cook these with a little nutmeg. You don’t really taste the nutmeg, but it seems to add some vibrancy of flavor.  Can’t go wrong with some Old World ambiance!

I use whole fat sour cream or whole fat yogurt from a good source. For yogurt, there’s a local purveyor I usually buy from, or I use goat yogurt. Stonyhill yogurt is also of good quality. (NOTE: whole milk is 3.5% fat – calling it “whole” milk doesn’t mean it is 100% fat. Calling the other stuff 1% milk doesn’t mean it’s one percent of 3.5%, it means it’s simply 1% and (at least with the milk) it has no inherent flavor without amendments and other “help”.) This particular batch of mashed potatoes was made with yogurt, since that’s what’s in the house now – but there’s no “yogurt-y” flavor to these potatoes!  The yogurt simply makes them more creamy and adds body.

If you don’t do diary: use canned coconut milk instead. (I cringe reading the ingredient list on those coconut milk cartons!  Go with a can — some claim to be bisphenol A free.  If you can’t find that, I’d still go with a can over the carton.)

AND, don’t forget that roasted garlic!

Prep Time: About ten minutes, including the mashing.
Cook Time:  30 minutes.
Rest Time:  Nada.
Serves: 3 servings as a side.
Reheats easy. 

Goats and Greens Mashed Potatoes
(with a nutmeg nod to Karl)


5 medium or small potatoes, cleaned up. Peeled or not is up to you.  Mine were a variation between small and medium — if they’re all small, you’ll not get three servings out of this!
1 small head of garlic
¼ or so teaspoon oil (olive or avocado)
2 heaping tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt. Or a quarter cup whole milk.  Or canned coconut milk if dairy is out for you.
¼ heaping teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt and ground white pepper to taste
Optional pat of butter or teaspoon or so of ghee for garnish when serving

Cut the tip off of the cloves on a head of garlic, wrap in aluminum foil with the oil rubbed around it, and place in a 400 F oven for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep the potatoes, and chop them into thick chunks. I basically just quarter the small – mid-sized ones. Put in boiling water, and reduce heat to a simmer, for 25 minutes.

Drain and mash, along with the sour cream, yogurt or milk. Include all the spices. I use a potato masher. Easier to clean than a food processor, plus I prefer the semi-uneven texture. For the garlic, remove from the oven and when cool enough, you can squeeze or scrape the garlic from the peels and continue mashing into the mashed potatoes.

Serve immediately with a dollop of optional ghee/butter if desired, or save this dish, or portions, to re-heat later.

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Portobellos Stuffed with Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage

Portabello, kale, vegetarian

A couple of stuffed mushrooms early this month. Mighty tasty. Topped with optional grated cheese…

My old laptop died.  I now have a new one.  I’m now back to blogging; this is a recipe I created earlier this month for which for some reason I didn’t port the photos off to the old computer before that one died.  They’re not great photos because I took them with my phone — at that point I couldn’t find my Real Camera’s charger.  Yes, I will be able to move all my old photos off my old laptop to this one (and to a back up hard drive), but that’s not happening yet…  At any rate, this post was written early February, even if the photos hadn’t got associated with it yet!

***

Most people in my area went out shopping for their version of staples for an upcoming snow and freezing rain storm earlier in February:  bottled water, bread and milk.  I shopped for good roasting veggies.  Well, yes, I helped buy up the last roadway de-icing salt concoctions, too.

I came home with a package of “shaved” brussels sprouts and with a package of combo shredded cabbage and shredded kale.  This should last me for a few days.

I already had a couple of large Portobello caps in the fridge, and the seasonings and condiments.

Prep Time: If you don’t have to shave/slice the Brussels sprouts, 10 minutes.  Add another 5-10 otherwise.
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes sauteing; 20 minutes in the oven.
Rest Time:  One minute?
Serves 1 as a main; 2 as a side.

Vegetarian Stuffed Portobellos

2 large Portobello mushrooms, stem removed and stems coarsely chopped. 
1.5 teaspoons butter, ghee, extra virgin olive oil, or avocado oil.
2 ounces shaved Brussels sprouts.  Buy them shaved if you can, otherwise slice or chop up to smaller portions.  I think the shaved sprouts are about 1/4 inch in thickness, although some pieces are a slight bit larger.  If you chop them up yourself and they do turn out larger, cooking time might increase slightly.
1/4 heaping teaspoon ground ancho chili pepper.  This is a mild ground pepper I obtain via Penzey’s.  If you want spicier, chipotle or (perhaps careful) cayenne could work. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.  Or, one small clove, peeled and crushed.
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (I use the Trader Joe’s rainbow pepper, which comes in its own nifty grinder).
Salt to taste.
5 or so slices of the white part of a leek, cut 1/4 inch thick more or less, and rings separated.
3 ounces white cabbage, shredded.
1/4 seriously heaping teaspoon oregano.
3-4 teaspoons of optional grated/ground Parmesan cheese.
Extra virgin olive oil to keep the mushroom from drying out.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

In a skillet, heat up the butter or other fat at medium.  Let it melt and get hot, but NOT smoke.  Test heat – splatter a drop or two of water into the pan — does it sizzle?  You’re ready.

Add the brussels sprouts, mushroom stems, ground ancho, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Move around with a spatula for 5-7 minutes, adjusting to keep the veggies from burning.  Allow for a little browning before going to the next step.

Add the leek and the cabbage and stir on and off another 3-4 minutes.  The cabbage won’t brown up much, but the sprouts should develop some additional color.

Add the oregano, stir for a few seconds, and taste.  Adjust above seasonings as your personal taste buds indicate.

Remove from range top heat source.

For the mushrooms:  wipe the outer rims and bottoms with extra virgin olive oil using a paper towel.  You may wipe the rest of the mushroom as you wish, but it isn’t essential.  Place them in a baking pan with interior side up.

Add the stuffing to each mushroom.  This just fit in my case.

Optionally, sprinkle about 1.5 teaspoons of parmesan per cap over the top.  While this adds a touch of crispness after cooking, if you don’t do cheese, the flavor doesn’t change much at all.

Bake in that pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and serve.

Stuffed mushroom, Brussels Sprouts,, cabbage

 

 

 

Posted in Cooking, Mushrooms, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops

Welcome to 2015.  Despite the paragraph below, I welcome in 2015. I was all set to cook and post a great vegetarian Meatless Monday scalloped potato dish, but it accidentally got contaminated by a bit of scalloped human — mainly blood from my right forefinger — which derailed the dish entirely, so sometime LATER ON, after I do it right and without incident.  If you use a mandoline to prep food with, use the finger guard, okay?  I miscalculated those smallish potatoes, and didn’t want to waste any part of them.  Seriously, it is better to waste than alter the FBI record of your fingerprints… (DO I have an FBI record?  I don’t think so, but who really knows?) So. We’re doing bacon-wrapped pork chops, two approved ways, both styles which I cooked on two earlier dates.

Bacon, pork chop, recipe

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chop

What you need are really really LEAN pork chops.  The local Mom and Pop had them.  If the chops are fatty, you seriously don’t need bacon to provide happy moisture.  You’ll want relatively thick-sliced pork chops, as you probably want your bacon crispy and the pork fully cooked without getting to that harsh dehydrated state reminscent of school cafeterias. I came home one night shortly before Christmas, to see a pile of bacon on my driveway, gifted to me by my totally awesome brother, who truly rocks.  Along with this came a pile of venison, which I’m sure I’ll delve into later on for this blog.  But for now — the bacon.  (THANKS, and yes, I have made use of Freezer Space!)

Bacon, recipe

This is applewood smoked bacon

Hickory smoked, Applewood smoked, Canadian bacon — I can’t recall all the rest of the permutations. I think the following recipe will work terrifically with either hickory or applewood smoked bacon.  And maybe other options. Two great permutations:  (PS, with the onset of 2015, I am now adding prep and cook times to recipes.)

:Ingredients in either case:

* Per 1 pork chop, approximately 3/4 inch thick, bone in, very very lean:   * 1.5 slices smoked bacon (hickory, applewood…?) * Ground pepper to taste * Ground paprika (smoked or not) to taste, estimating 1/4 teaspoon or so per chop.

bacon, pork chop, recipe

Pork chop wrapped with bacon

:Fry Pan Method:

Prep Time:  5 minutes if that.   Cook Time:  Up to 22 minutes.  Rest Time: Up to 4 minutes.  

I used a cast iron skillet, heated it to medium/medium-high on the range, no added oil Add ground pepper and paprika to both sides of each chop, rub in to keep it “attached”. Wrap a full bacon slice around the thick part of the chop, attempting to make the ends of the bacon meet. Wrap the half bacon slice around the bone/narrow part of the chop, attempting to make the ends of the bacon meet. Add more ground pepper and/or paprika if you feel so inspired.  Salt is not necessary, as the bacon contains a lot. Cook the bacon-wrapped chop in the skillet, 8-10 minutes each side (bacon should become crispy as it cooks).  Flip back again for another minute to heat up that first side.  PS, use a splatter guard if you remember… Plate, let rest 3-4 minutes, and serve.

pork chop, bacon, recipe

Pan fried in cast iron skillet

:George Foreman Grill Method:

George Foreman Grill

George Foreman grill

Prep Time:  5 minutes if that.   Cook Time:  10 minutes.  Rest Time: Up to 4 minutes.

This is my favorite method, but I mentioned the pan fry method first as most people don’t own George Foreman grills.  This is the model that has no temperature setting.  It is ON or it is OFF (the latter condition happens automatically when you unplug it).  I like it because 1) no splattering, and 2)  it does keep track of excess grease and fats when you don’t want them.  3)  And I thought the result here tasted slightly better. Preheat the grill until the little indicator light on the front of the unit goes out. Add ground pepper and paprika to both sides of each chop, rub in to keep it “attached”. Wrap a full bacon slice around the thick part of the chop, attempting to make the ends of the bacon meet. Wrap the half bacon slice around the bone/narrow part of the chop, attempting to make the ends of the bacon meet. Add more ground pepper and/or paprika if you feel so inspired.  Salt is not necessary, as the bacon contains a lot. Cook the bacon-wrapped chop in the skillet, 5 minutes each side (bacon should become crispy as it cooks).  Although the George Foreman will cook from both sides, it cooks more intensely on the bottom.  And by flipping it you can also get those nice-looking cross hatched grill lines.

pork chop, bacon, George Foreman grill

Preparing to grill Side Two

Plate, let rest 3-4 minutes, and serve.  (Don’t forget to unplug the thing!)

Pork chop, bacon, recipe, George Foreman grill

Pork chop, George Foreman grill style

This recipe should also turn out well on a real outdoor grill.  I’d recommend indirect heat, and just watch the done-ness of the bacon to judge your timing by.  The recipe should also work well with boneless pork chops; I just prefer the added flavor bone-in provides.  

:Sides?:

Scalloped potatoes might be nice… However. Pork lends itself to cabbage or brussels sprouts with onion, fresh and roasted (NEVER canned or boiled), with some nice ground pepper.  OR  a salad with cabbage and baby kale as a base?

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