So this it folks my first blog post (insert the drum intro here). What do you start with after decades of cooking and hundreds of recipes? I decided on the great combination of, deliciously sinful, easy to make and a cooking technique I've worked years to perfect. I present to you "Cracklin Crusted Fried Pork Chops" This recipe came about from my short stint with low-carb eating. The diet didn't survive (as it slowly destroyed my will to live) but the recipe did.
First the ingredients. In Louisiana, fresh cracklins are a way of life and easily accessible, but they are expensive and not available many other places. (Now, made with these, it's divine but hey- if you never tried it, you won't know the difference). I use packaged pork rinds which you put through a food processor till they form fine crumbs. The pork is up to you. Feeding a family of 5 I use whatever is on sale, usually thats 1/2 in bone in chops and I remove the bones. (Our dog Eddie B's favorite part of this recipe). It doesn't make for perfectly shaped chops but I hardly think anyone really cares about that. Next - eggs. Well I use just regular ol' eggs beaten with a little Creole mustard for extra flavor. Last but not least - Parmesan cheese. Not the fancy stuff, the much shunned but still loved powdery stuff that comes in the generic green plastic jar.
Now the line-up. Believe me this is important - your kitchen floor will thank you. It's pork chops, cheese, eggs and pork rinds. Also, make sure to have a few cooling racks to put your breaded chops on. The key to a good fry is the fry staying on till the last bite. Do this and people will think your some sort of frying sorcerer. (We all have to inspire to be great at something, I may be a terrible handyman. I once welded a screwdriver to a stove, not on purpose. Bonus tip don't stick a screwdriver into an electric console of a gas oven. It's a miracle I have made it to 41.) Pat your pork chops to get rid of extra moisture. Coat each chop in the parmesan cheese then gently dip in your egg mixture. Coat your chop in the pork rind crumbsand make sure to press down to get them completely coated.
After coating, place your chops on the cooling racks and let rest for at least 10 minutes. This is very important part - this is where the magic happens. Fry too soon and your crust will slide off at first bite.
While they are resting heat your oil. I prefer using cast iron because it fries so well. Cast iron is a way of life here. I know people that have pots that are passed down three generations. Gently place your chops in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd (Please be gentle. Dropping them in the hot grease harshly will be a decision you, your hand or face, your clothes and your kitchen will all regret.) You will fry in batches to keep from crowding your pan.
I find stoves vary greatly with temps. I solely cook on gas stoves and my timing is about 4 minutes per side to get that golden brown color. If you very gently with tongs pick up the corner of the chop you can see when its ready to turn without messing up the coating too much. As they are frying put some cooling racks on cookie sheets (I've lost some eyebrows and an oven because I forgot the cookie sheets) in the oven set to around 250F. As I pull a chop from the skillet I place them on the cooling racks and put them in the oven while I cook the rest. This keeps them warm without drying them out. If you worry about undercooked pork this should ease your mind. (If you want a recipe for charcoal start eating the just cooked pork chops and forget you left some in the oven, in two hours you will the most amazing pieces of Charcoal that even that dog won't touch.) That's it folks, let me know how it goes.
If you want to bring these Pork Chops to the next level serve them with my "Andouille Cream Gravy". People will ask for your hand in marriage after this combo. Adding the gravy gets you that groaning and eyes rolling back in the head reaction you are looking for. A good time to ask for any favors you need. I guess this last addition shows how unsuccessful I was at keeping things low carb.
Cracklin Crusted Pork Chops
6-8 1/2 in.chops (the amount is based on size of the pork chops)
2 cups parmesan cheese ( grated not shredded)
1 tablespoon creole mustard (or the your favorite) -optional
3 3oz bags of pork rinds (processed into fine crumbs)
1 tablespoon of cajun seasoning (I make my own but a store brand will do)
Vegetable oil enough to get 1/4-1/2 an inch in your skillet
Grind pork rinds to a fine crumb in a food processor and set aside. In pie pan or something similar, beat eggs with the mustard until all the whites have been incorporated and the mixtures is smooth, then set aside. Put the parmesan cheese in a separate pan the allows for a whole pork chop to fit. Mix the crumbs and cajun seasoning (adjust to spice preference. I like it spicy) in another pan.
Line up the ingredients in the order of pork chops, cheese, egg mixture and finally pork rinds. Place some cooling racks at the end, to place the coated chops on. Pat each pork chop with a towel to eliminate extra moisture, dip chop in parmesan cheese till evenly coated. Next gently dip in the egg mixture. Once evenly coated place pork chops in crumbs and evenly coat. Make sure to press down and get them well coated. Place pork chops on cooling rack and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.
While the pork chops are resting, heat oil in skillet (cast iron works best). I test my temp by putting small pieces of extra batter in till they fry up quickly. When the oil is ready, gently place 2-3 pork chops in the skillet, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook till golden brown on both sides. On my stove thats around 4 minutes per side. While the first batch is frying preheat oven to 250 and place cooling racks on cookie sheets in the oven. As each chop is finished, place on the racks as you cook the next batch. Let the pork chops rest in oven for at least 5 minutes before serving.