Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pork + Pork = Perfection

Good evening everyone! The common 'turn-of-phrase' these days seems to be "everything's better with bacon on it". It seems the amazing flavorful properties of bacon lend themselves to just about any dish. In recent months, restaurants have launched bacon flavored EVERYTHING included (but certainly not limited to) bacon flavored milkshakes.

While we're not going to be as crazy bacon flavored milkshakes - we are working on the theory that everything is better with bacon on it - including pork products. In addition to our pork on pork main attraction, we're trying a new tweak on potato salad (hint - it's hot).

Let's get cooking!

The Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops With Warm Dijon Potato Salad
Original Recipe Found In: America's Test Kitchen: Cooking For Two

What You'll Need:
(Serves 2)

12 Ounces Small Red Potatoes (Halved)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4-6 Slices of Bacon
2 X 6 to 8 Ounce Boneless Center Cut Pork Chops
1 Teaspoon Ground Fennel Seed
1 Small Shallot (Minced)
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Parsley

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a medium bowl, toss your halved potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes on half of your rimmed baking sheet (cut side down) and place the baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are tender.

While the potatoes are roasting you can begin preparing your bacon. Lay the strips of bacon on a microwave safe plate and place another plate on top of the bacon (making what looks like a bacon / plate sandwich). Cook the bacon in a microwave for 2 to 3 minutes until it is lightly shriveled but still pliable. Microwave cooking is the best option because it allows the bacon to stay pliable (which is key for wrapping the pork chop) while still cooking the bacon.

Bacon / Plate Sandwich 

Pat your pork chops dry with a paper towel before rubbing each chop with the ground fennel. Season the rubbed chops with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Next, begin wrapping the pork chops with your bacon. Lay the bacon lengthwise across the pork chop, making sure to overlap the slices slightly. Once covered, tuck the ends of the bacon under the sides of the pork chop.

By this time, your potatoes should be about done with their initial 20 minute roast. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and lay the pork chops on the other half (left empty) of the baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven and allow the pork chops and potatoes to cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the pork chops register 135 degrees on an instant read thermometer.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, adjust the top rack of the oven to 6 inches below the broiler and preheat the broiler element on the oven. Broil the pork and potatoes until the bacon is crispy and brown and the pork register 140 to 145 degrees on an instant read thermometer. This should take about 2 to 5 minutes. Watch the bacon closely as the broiler element will cause it to brown quickly.

Transfer the pork to a plate and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

While the pork is resting, you can begin preparing the dressing for the potatoes. In a microwave safe bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the shallot, vinegar, mustard, chicken broth and a pinch of sugar. Cook this mixture on high in your microwave (uncovered) for 2 minutes. Whisk to recombine all of the ingredients, then stir in the parsley and pour the dressing over the roasted potatoes (in a serving bowl). Toss until the potatoes are covered.

Serve with the pork chops and enjoy!

The Results:

Everything really is better with bacon on it - even if that item is pork based to begin with. The bacon wrapped pork chops were simply amazing. The crispy, salty bacon accented the succulent juicy pork chops very nicely, creating a superb blending of savory pork and crispy bacon.

Our side dish, warm dijon potato salad, will be the only way I'll ever eat potato salad. I'm not a fan of the cold variant but this slow roasted potato version with warm dressing was unlike anything I've ever tried. It was full of flavor and complimented the pork chops nicely!

That's all we have for you this evening. We'll be featuring a unique "quick hit" recipe later on this week - so be sure to stop in over the weekend or simply follow our Facebook page or Twitter feed for updates when that recipe goes live. Until then,


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