Monday, November 7, 2016

Southern Fried Pork Chops & Eggs with Pepper Jack Grits

     Pork Chops & Eggs!
     Steak & Eggs is offered on nearly every breakfast menu out west.  A classic Steak & Eggs entrée usually features a thick cut Strip Steak or Top Sirloin Steak.  At finer restaurants and gourmet diners, the steak is dry aged USDA Prime Grade Beef.
     On the flip-side, a cheap family style breakfast restaurant or greasy spoon diner offers a thin cut low grade Strip Steak or a small Ball Sirloin Steak.  A small low quality steak for breakfast is not exactly worth waking up for.
     Other than Steak & Eggs, the next best choice at most restaurants is Ham Steak & Eggs.  Just like with Steak & Eggs, the price, quality and size can vary greatly, depending on the restaurant.  Las Vegas is famous for one pound breakfast ham steaks that cover the entire plate, while a greasy spoon diner in a big east coast city will usually only offer a tiny 4 ounce ham steak that looks more like Spam than ham.
     Not every restaurant offers Pork Chops & Eggs for breakfast.  Southern style restaurants, country style diners and big city diners that feature down home cooking or soul food will usually feature Pork Chops & Eggs on the menu.  Often this is the best deal in the house, because there are fewer quality, pricing and portion size issues, when compared to a breakfast steak or ham steak.
     Plain grill pork chops are nice, but many people prefer pan fried pork chops for breakfast.  Maybe it is because pan fried pork chops have more flavor or the coating fills the tummy up faster.  More than likely the reason is tradition.  Southern Fried Pork Chops & Eggs is breakfast comfort food at its best!

     Pepper Jack Cheese Grits: 
     This recipe yields 2 portions.  (About 2 1/4 cups)
     I used stone ground yellow grits for this recipe.  White stone ground grits are good too.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 cup of milk
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Add 2/3 cup of stone ground hominy grits.      
     Stir the grits with a whisk, so the grits do not become lumpy.
     Bring the liquid back to a boil.
     Step 2: Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer till the grits are thick and soft.  (About 10 to 15 minutes)
     Stir the grits often with a whisk.
     Step 3:  Check the consistency.  The grits should be thick enough to be gathered with a spoon, but they should not be thick enough to stand a spoon in the pot.
     *If the grits become too thick, then add a splash of water.  If they are too thin, then simmer and reduce.      
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of cream.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Whisk till the grits become smooth and creamy.
     Step 5:  Add 1/3 cup of grated Pepper Jack Cheese.
     Stir the cheese into the grits as it melts.
     Keep the Pepper Jack Grits warm over very low heat or in a 135ºF bain marie.  Add water if the cheese grits get too thick.

     Southern Fried Pork Chops:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  (2 medium size pork chops)
     Step 1:  Select 2 pork chops that are about 3/8" thick and weigh about 5 ounces apiece.  (The bone should be attached.) 
     Step 2:  Place 2 cups of all purpose flour in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of Spanish Paprika.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Set the seasoned flour bowl aside.
     Step 3:  Place 1 cup of buttermilk in a mixing bowl.
     Set the mixing bowl aside.
     Step 4:  Heat a wide cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.
     Add enough vegetable frying oil (or lard), so the oil is about 3/8" deep.
     Adjust the temperature, so the oil is 350ºF.
     Step 5:  Dredge the pork chops in the seasoned flour.
     Dip the pork chops in the buttermilk.
     Dredge the pork chops in the seasoned flour a second time to create a thin coating.
     Step 6:  Place the coated pork chops in the hot oil.
     Wait till the coating is golden color on the bottom half before flipping the pork chop.
     Pan fry till the coating is golden brown on both sides and the pork chops are fully cooked.  Flip the pork chops occasionally to prevent excess browning.  (The center temperature should be over 145ºF for fully cooked pork.)
     Step 7:  Place the Southern Fried Pork Chops on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     *Leave the skillet on the heat, so the green onion garnish can be made!  

     Fried Green Onion Garnish:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Keep the frying oil in the cast iron skillet at 350ºF.
     Step 2:  Cut the green tops off of 8 to 10 green onions.  (Save the white parts for another recipe.)
     Cut the green tops into 4" to 5" lengths.
     Step 3:  Place the green onion tops in the hot oil.
     Pan fry till caramelized highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Place the Fried Green Onion Tops on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the green onions warm on a stove top.

     Southern Fried Pork Chops & Eggs with Pepper Jack Grits:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty entrée.
     Step 1:  Cook 1 or 2 eggs any style that is preferred.
     Step 2:  Place the eggs on the back half of a plate.
     Place about 1 cup of the Pepper Jack Grits on the back half of the plate.
     Step 3:  Place the Southern Fried Pork Chops on the front half of the plate, so they lean against the grits.
     Garnish the pork chops and grits with the fried green onions.
     Garnish the plate with a curly leaf parsley sprig.
     Voila!  Savory southern style pork chops with some tasty cheese grits!

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