Chicken Fried Pork Chops

In Texas, it seems like we will chicken fry just about anything. I’ve seen pickles, short ribs and (of course) the ever popular chicken fried steak, but one of my favorites is the chicken fried pork chop. Pork loin is a very affordable cut of meat, but it can be notoriously dry if overcooked. To keep it moist, I’ve cooked it in the Sous Vide or smoked it as a roast, but the best way to keep loin chops from drying out is to chicken fry it. Pair it with some Sausage Gravy and you are in southern-fried-heaven!

For the brine:
3 cups water
½ cup brine mixture (I used a pre-made store bought)

For the pork chops:
4 boneless pork loin chops, pounded to ½ inch thick
1 cup buttermilk
Few dashes hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt. More to taste after frying (the brine is fairly salty)
Canola or peanut oil for frying

To prepare the brine: in a medium saucepot, combine water and brine mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once brine mixture is fully dissolved in water, turn off heat and let cool completely. Pound boneless pork chops to ½ inch thick and pour the cooled brine over the chops. Let sit in refrigerator 6-8 hours.

When ready to cook, remove pork from brine, rinse and pat dry. In one bowl, combine buttermilk and hot sauce (if using). In another, combine flour, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Dip the pork chops in the buttermilk, then dredge in flour mixture. Dip back in the buttermilk and into the flour again to ensure a thick crispy coating.

Heat oil on medium-low heat. Place breaded pork chops in pan when oil looks shimmery (chops should sizzle in pan). Fry for 5-7 minutes per side until crispy. Remove from pan and let drain on a wire rack. Serve as is, or topped with Sausage Gravy.

Wine Pairings:
Montgo Monastrell 2012

 

 

 

Sausage Gravy

Sausage Gravy is a southern staple for breakfast. It is delightful on some homemade biscuits, and (my favorite!) anything chicken fried. It couldn’t be any easier to make, and a perfect way to add flavor and spice to your next brunch. I used hot sausage because I like things spicy, but mild breakfast sausage can easily be substituted if you prefer.

 

Ingredients:
½ tbsp. bacon grease
4 oz. crumbled pork breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean)
2 tbsp. flour
¾ cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste (I like lots of pepper!)

Heat cast iron or heavy bottom skillet on medium-low heat. Add bacon grease and crumbled sausage and stir until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes. Add flour to pan and continue to stir for 2 minutes more, until all of the sausage is coated in flour. Add milk, salt and pepper and let simmer until thick, about 5-8 minutes. Serve immediately over biscuits or Chicken Fried Pork Chops. Enjoy!

Sous Vide Fried Chicken

Sous Vide Fried ChickenFried chicken is one of my favorite dishes of all time, ever! It seems like a simple southern dish, but it can be pretty tough to time the perfectly crispy outside with having thoroughly cooked inside. This is just one more reason to love my Sous Vide Supreme – this recipe for Sous Vide Fried Chicken. As discussed in my Sous Vide Flank Steak recipe, Sous Vide style of cooking includes a water bath being set to a precise temperature, usually the temperature that is desired for the internal temperature of what is being cooked. For a medium rare steak, that temperature is somewhere between 130-135 degrees. Since the safe internal temperature for chicken is 165 degrees, always set the water temperature to at least 165 degrees when cooking chicken. This way, the chicken is completely cooked before getting a quick, high temperature frying.

The rest of the recipe is fairly traditional for fried chicken. Prepare the brine as discussed below, which will season the chicken and lock in the juices. Add ingredients to water and bring to a boil, letting simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and pour entire brine mixture over a whole, cut-up chicken. Return to refrigerator and let sit at least 8 hours to really get that chicken juicy and flavorful!

Brine
1 gallon water
Lemon, quartered
Large shallot, cut into slices
2 cloves garlic, smashed with knife
Tbsp. peppercorns
1 cup kosher salt
Boil all together. Let cool, and pour over chicken for at least 8 hours, up to 2 days.

After removing from brine mixture, rinse chicken and transfer to a Sous Vide bag and zip, carefully removing as much air as possible. Usually I use a vacuum sealer, but the sharp chicken bones would likely puncture the bag if that much pressure was applied, so I just use a zipper bag.  Immerse at 165 degrees for approximately 2 hours.

Now that the chicken is cooked, if can be breaded and fried at a higher heat, which will give it a perfectly crispy crust in about 8 minutes, without having to worry that the inside won’t be cooked properly. I like a little kick to my fried chicken, so I put a few dashes of hot sauce in with the buttermilk and cayenne pepper and lots of black pepper into the breading mixture. It’s not an overly spicy recipe, but feel free to adjust to your taste!

Sous Vide Fried Chicken 2
1 pint buttermilk
Few dashes hot sauce (I used Frank’s)
3 cups flour
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. salt. More to taste after frying (the brine is fairly salty)
Fry in 375 degree oil for 3-4 minutes a side until golden. Place on a wire rack to drain excess oil after frying.

Enjoy!

 

Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits with creole

After moving to Austin 7 years ago, I quickly fell in love with this southern staple.  It’s spicy, savory, and makes a hearty brunch or dinner.  I use quick cooking grits (not instant, the ones that cook in 10-15 minutes are so much better!) to make this dish really easy.  Instead of cooking the grits according to the package directions, I substitute half of the water for milk, and add some fresh garlic and jalapeno to give it a kick.  This goes really well topped with my spicy Creole Sauce.

 

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1-1 ½ lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 slices bacon, diced
½ yellow onion, diced
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper

To make the grits:

1 tbsp. butter
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
¾ cup water
¾ cup milk
¾ cup quick grits
2 dashes hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

baconPreheat a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet over medium heat, until chopped bacon sizzles when added.  Cook until crisp, approximately 10 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.  Remove grease, reserving 1 tbsp. for cooking the shrimp (see instructions below).  Return the skillet to medium heat and add chopped onion.  Sauté for approximately 10 minutes until onion starts to look caramelized.  When caramelized, remove from pan and set aside with crisp bacon.

Meanwhile, mix flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  After peeling and deveining the shrimp, rinse in a colander and pat dry with paper towel.  Place dried shrimp in a bowl with the flour mixture and combine to give it a light coating.  This will give it a nice brown crust when seared in reserved bacon grease.

To start the grits, melt butter in medium saucepan on medium-low.  Once melted, add diced garlic and jalapeno and sauté until fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.  Add milk and water, turning heat up to medium-high.   When starting to boil, add grits and simmer on low, stirring regularly.   Cook for approximately 10 minutes until desired consistency.  I like grits to have a decent amount of the water cooked out of them, so when you put a big scoop in your plate they hold their shape, like a scoop of rice or mashed potatoes.    Add salt, pepper and hot sauce and stir to combine.

shrimp

While grits are simmering, turn skillet back on to medium heat.  Add reserved bacon grease and place shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned, approximately 5 minutes.  Turn the shrimp it the other side and cook another 5 minutes.  Add cooked bacon and onion to the shrimp and toss to combine.

 

 

shrimp and grits - no creolePlace a large scoop of grits in a bowl and top with shrimp.  Add Creole Sauce if desired and garnish with green onions.

Enjoy! shrimp and grits with creole sauce

Creole Sauce

shrimp and grits with creole sauceI love this Creole Sauce, and I use it often.  I love heat, and this makes a savory, spicy addition to any dish, whether you are making blackened chicken with rice or  a savory Shrimp and Grits recipe.  I usually make a big batch when I make Shrimp and Grits and there is enough left to freeze 4 or 5 pint size containers.  This freezes really well and makes weeknight meals really easy.  My husband also loves it on fried eggs for breakfast!

 

 

Creole ingredientsIngredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
5 ribs of celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 quart carton chicken broth (32 oz.)
creole spices1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
½ tsp. each of: cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. butter

Over medium heat, add olive oil to large pot and sauté onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, celery, garlic and green onions, for approximately 5 minutes, or until starting to soften.  Add chicken broth, tomatoes and spices and bring to a simmer.  Let simmer approximately 20 minutes until vegetables are soft and spices are blended.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter.  Serve over shrimp and grits, blackened chicken or something delicious.

Enjoy!Shrimp and grits with creole