As you might imagine, we enjoy cooking shows around here. Competitions, demonstrations, professionals, amateurs, cooking, baking - always fun to watch.
One of the shows that we enjoy is America's Test Kitchen. They not only make delicious food, but the explain why their recipes work - they test all of the ingredients, equipment and processes until they come up with what they feel is the best recipe they can provide.
Recently we saw an episode where they made crispy pork chops. And if there's one thing that daddy likes, it's crispy pork chops. So we had to try them.
I found the recipe online here. The only "issue" is that you have to register to see the recipe in print. And I've registered before, but I always have trouble signing in again... But the video was available without signing in, so I did what any crazy foodie would do - I watched the video half a dozen times, jotting down the measurements and processes as I did.
The main secret to the crispy breading on these pork chops is the breading. Which isn't bread at all - it's crushed corn flake cereal.
The other key step is that the pork chops are scored prior to being breaded, which helps ensure that the pork chops are flavorful throughout.
Then the chops are breaded with a bound breading. This process usually involves being dipped in flour, then in an egg wash, then in the bread crumb mixture being used. In this case, corn starch is used in place of the flour, buttermilk in place of the egg was, and the crushed corn flake cereal in place of bread crumbs. But otherwise, it's your standard bound breading.
The result, though, is a even coating of crispy goodness.
The chops rest for a bit before being pan fried for about six minutes per side, enough to cook the meat throughout and create a beautiful, golden crust on each chop.
The result was a delicious, flavorful and perfectly crispy pork chop that made an absolutely delicious dinner.
I served these chops on a bed of arugula, with baked sweet potato and sauteed collard greens on the side - yum. Definitely worth the re-watching and the effort!
Pan-Fried Pork Chops
(from America's Test Kitchen)
8 pork chops, 1/2" - 3/4" thick each
3-4 cups corn flake cereal, crushed to crumbs in food processor
1/3 cup + 1/3 cup corn starch (separated)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
canola oil for frying
Combine (in your food processor while crushing the cereal, if you want) the crushed cereal crumbs, 1/3 cup of corn starch and about a teaspoon each of salt and pepper (to taste). Set aside in a shallow dish or pie plate.
In another shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the buttermilk, dijon mustard and minced garlic.
In another shallow bowl, set the last 1/3 cup of corn starch.
Carefully score each pork chop, making shallow cuts across the surface of each side of each chop. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each chop.
Dip each pork chop first into the corn starch, making sure that the entire surface is lightly dusted - no clumps, but no bare spots.
Next, using tongs, dip the chop into the buttermilk mixture until it is coated all around.
Now transfer the chop to the crushed cereal mixture, coating well on all sides.
Set the coated pork chop on a rack.
Repeat with all chops and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil (about 1/3 cup - you want about 1/4" in the pan) in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.
Fry the chops (in batches - don't crowd the pan) for about 5-6 minutes per side, until golden brown on each side.
Remove each chop from the oil (once done on both sides), resting on a paper towel for only 30 seconds, then to a clean rack. You can put the rack on a cookie sheet and keep the pan in a warm oven while you continue cooking the remaining chops.
Serve and enjoy!