Recipes: Then and Now

Recipes from the past updated for today

Post #11 Pork Chops

August 1, 2014

I have had some really bad chops in my lifetime. Most of them I cooked. Time to do a little research to prevent the bad from happening again.

So, here is what I learned about cooking chops to perfection. A pork ‘chop’ is a cut of pork from the loin. Depending on the section of loin where the chop originates, they are named loin, rib, sirloin, top loin and blade chops. Chops are available boneless or with bone attached; thickness varies from ½ to 2 inches. Because of modern feeding practices, trichinosis is a no longer a concern. Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork today, if it were present, it would be killed at 137 degrees. This is well below the recommended end cooking temperature of 160 degrees for pork.

On my research mission I stopped at the Broad Ripple Kroger to learn how to cook a chop. The friendly staff at the meat counter told me most of us cook pork at too high a temperature. When we want to brown the meat use high heat, but for the ‘cooking time’ low to medium low is plenty. Another question: with or without the bone? I was told some people prefer the bone intact for the flavor it may add to the finished chop. I don’t like the waste of paying for the bone. I chose boneless loin chops for my recipes. I was also told that, just like beef, the more marbling the better. But the lean are still my choice for the health advantages.

Since I am cooking for only two and I am not a big fan of leftovers, I cut the quantity of each ingredient in half. To serve four use the recipes as they appear below. This first recipe comes from a wonderful old cookbook called “Look No Further” by Richard T. Hougan. It was published in the early fifties by the then manager of the Boone Tavern Hotel at Berea College in Kentucky. It is a collection of recipes served at the old college inn. This is a bit unusual but I must say it makes a surprisingly good chop.

Pork Chops, Some Tricky Way

4 lean pork chops

½ cup tomato paste

½ cup parmesan cheese

1 cup bread crumbs

2 cups chicken stock

2 ½ tablespoons flour

¾ cup fresh mushrooms

Trim the chops of any excess fat and brush with the tomato paste to coat them. Mix together the parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs. Pat the bread crumbs onto the chops. Heat a large skillet and brown on both sides. Place the chops in a covered casserole and add a small amount of water. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. In a small pan combine 2 ½ tablespoons flour with some of the cold stock until smooth. Blend into the rest of the stock and cook over medium heat for five minutes, until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and serve the chops with the sauce.

This next recipe was on a sticker attached to the package of chops I purchased at our Broad Ripple Kroger. This is a modern recipe if there ever was one. Simple and delicious. Isn’t that what we all want today? I used chives instead of the green onion and it was great. Use whichever you prefer. The chops I used were fairly thin so just a few minutes is all it took to cook thoroughly without drying out the meat.

Citrus Chops

4 pork loin chops, ¾ inch thick

¼ cup sliced green onion

1 tablespoon orange peel

¼ cup orange juice

¼ teaspoon dried basil

Heat a small amount of oil in large nonstick skillet. Add chops and brown on each side over medium-high heat; turn again and add remaining ingredients. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-8 minutes, depending on thickness. Serve these chops with the cooking liquid as a sauce.