Tag Archives: pork chops

SPAETZLE, THE LITTLE DARLINGS

Recently I have written about noodles and pasta and some of my travails in turning out good products. Part of the stimulus for my effort has been watching an outstanding video cooking course by Chef Bill Briwa of the Greystone campus of the Culinary Institute of America and produced by The Great Courses. Chef Briwa made pasta-making look so easy, especially after my history of struggle over the years.

Actually, I found the basics of pasta and noodle making to be fairly straightforward. (How complicated can anything be with the ingredients limited to flour, eggs, and water?) At the same time, refinements come only with practice and attention to detail.

Here is my effort at a close relative of pasta/noodle: spaetzle. The word is German, and translates to either “little sparrows” or “little darlings”. Personally I prefer the “little darlings” translation because I would rather not have birds floating around in the sauce, and the little  noodlets do look cute, snuggling in the brown butter. Spaetzle are basically made from a soft noodle dough that you force through holes into boiling water where they immediately cook and float to the top. You can use a cookie press with a spaetzle attachment, but those holes are too small. You can use a colander with large holes, but there is a lot of effort with a spoon in pushing the dough through the openings. The last time I visited Los Angeles, I found a spaetzle maker at the Surfas kitchen supply store in Culver City. As an aside, I would highly recommend a visit when you are in Los Angeles. They have more kitchen gadgets than you can imagine along with a small sandwich and pastry shop.

Back to the spaetzle, the device I bought at Surfas makes spaetzle-making a breeze. You load the dough into the little box on top, move the box back and forth across the pierced plate, and the dough automatically feeds until you need to load it again. The spaetzle drop into the boiling water, and you scoop them out into waiting melted butter at the same time you reload the box.

I served the spaetzle in brown butter sauce with croutons, along with braised pork chops, apples, and onions. Pretty German – and pretty monochromatic. You might want to add a green vegetable to brighten up the plate.

RECIPES

Spaetzle in Brown Butter with Croutons

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 quarts salted water for boiling the spaetzle
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter  and cook, stirring frequently, until it has browned, being careful not to let it burn. Remove from the heat, stir in the croutons, and have it next to the cooking water for the spaetzle so that you can transfer the pasta immediately into the butter.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, water, salt and flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Place the spaetzle maker over the boiling water. Load the metal box with dough, and using a back-and-forth sliding motion, pass the dough through the holes in pierced plate.
  4. The noodles should drop into the boiling water and sink to the bottom. After they float to the surface, let them cook for a minute or so, and the lift them out of the boiling water using a slotted spoon or a spider. Transfer to the melted brown butter, stirring them so that they are completely coated with butter.
  5. Repeat the process until all of the dough has been used up.
  6. Correct the seasoning of the buttered noodles with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, or you can chill them and reheat them later if yo wish.

 

Braised Pork Chops, Apples, and Onions

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 boneless, 1 inch-thick pork chops
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced into ½ inch rings
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly (Use a mandolin if you have one.)
  • ¼ cup Calvados
  • salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in an oven-proof pan with tight-fitting lid, big enough to hold the pork chops and other ingredients. Brown the pork chops on both sides. Add the chicken stock, garlic, rosemary, and bay leaf. Cover and place in the middle of oven preheated to 220° F.
  2. Braise for one hour, turning the pork chops from time to time, and adding water if necessary.
  3. Add the apple rings and onions, and continue to cook for another 45 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pork chops, apples, and onions to a plate, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven.
  5. Strain the cooking liquid, and return to the pan. Boil the liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about one-half and is slightly thickened. Stir in the Calvados.
  6. Serve the pork chops, apples, and onions, topped with the sauce and with the spaetzle on the side.
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UNSCENE SHREVEPORT : HERBED PORK CHOPS AND MEXICAN CORN

This is my first post from the Shreveport Unscene. The project is a year-long event designed to advance music, the arts, and food in the Shreveport area. Sarah and Evan are doing a two week residency with the goal of  promoting the use of fresh fruits and vegetables in restaurant menus and, along the way, in the family menus of the community. They will be cooking with products from the local farmers market and challenging local chefs to do the same.

Shreveport has a rich food tradition with many Southern and Louisiana specialties. But like much of the South, its food is heavy on deep frying – chicken fried steak, Southern fried chicken, fried catfish and hush puppies, not to mention Natchitoches meat pies, corn dogs, fried pickles, and even deep-fried ice cream. Bucking that tradition will be a challenge.

On our day of arrival, Sarah and Evan went to the farmers market, which is held twice a week. The market is much larger on the weekend, so during the week the choices were limited, but they found fresh pork chops, onions, garlic, new potatoes, sweet yellow peppers, corn from a Mennonite colony in nearby Arkansas, blueberries, raspberries, and fresh cream.

They augmented these products with prosciutto from the gift basket in their room and red onions, cilantro, vegetable oil, and balsamic vinegar from the nearby grocery store. Then they cooked our evening meal from all of this bounty, sort of as a trial run. Sometimes it’s ok to be a guinea pig.

RECIPES

Herbed Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large pork chops
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped coarsely
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red onion, diced finely
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
  • balsamic  vinegar

Method

  1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat, Add the pork chops, garlic, and onions. Brown the pork chops on both sides. Then transfer to an oven-proof dish and place in the oven preheated to 375.  Roast for 20 minutes or until done to your liking. Adjust the seasoning.
  2. In the meantime, combine the red onion, cilantro, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. When ready to serve the pork chops, top each with a large tablespoonful of the herb mixture

New Potatoes, Onions, and Sweet Peppers with Pancetta

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped coarsely
  • 4 sweet yellow peppers cut crosswise into 2-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 of  reserved herb mix (see recipe ab0ve)
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, sliced into thin ribbons

Method

  1. Add the potatoes, onion, and peppers to a large saute pan over medium high heat with the oil.
  2. Stirring frequently, cook the vegetables until they are soft. Remove from the heat. Serve topped with half the herb mixture and the prosciutto.

Mexican-Style Corn with Yogurt and Queso Fresco

Ingredients

  • 6 ears fresh corn, shucked and silk removed
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 pound Mexican queso fresco, crumbled
  • Old Bay seasoning (note: one of us is very sensitive to spicy food, so that was the choice of seasoning. Ground chiles or chili powder would also be very good.)

Method

  1. Over high heat, dry roast the corn, two or three ears at a time, until they are lightly charred.
  2. Transfer to an oven-proof pan or dish. Spread the roasted corn with yogurt and then sprinkle with queso fresco and seasoning.
  3. Place in the oven preheated to 375 for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately.

 

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