Friday, December 20, 2013

In search of pork heaven

In my family pork is the food of the gods.  Although I usually make a turkey for our official feasts, pork gets served at other important times.  So when my son invited a guest for Christmas and we discussed what to serve, he opined that pork would probably be a good choice.  Well, actually he opined that sauerkraut would probably be a good choice.

She, like me, is a sauerkraut lover from a family where sauerkraut was reviled.  I'm always willing to serve sauerkraut, especially to impress my guests, but you have to have pork to go with it.

I could fix a lot of porkchops in two separate frying pans on the stove -- in fact, that's what I did on Thanksgiving Day for other pork-loving guests (don't worry, we had the official turkey the next day) -- but I'm looking for ways to minimize the last-minute fuss.  So I thought about my mother's old favorite, pork chops baked in milk.

How nice, I thought, to have the fancy dinner in the oven, needing nothing than to be taken out and borne to the table.  But this preparation is one that I haven't been successful at in a long time.  I never had a written recipe, Mom is dead, and pork has changed.  After the last attempt, a couple of months ago, I wondered if it was the fault of the milk -- skim doesn't give you much culinary enhancement.

So this week I decided on a dry run.  If it worked, that would be our Christmas dinner.  I bought a nice porkchop and a half-gallon of whole milk.  I looked online but didn't find any recipes that resembled Mom's; most of them involved canned soup and other adulterants.  So I just found a little dish that the meat fit snugly into, poured the milk on top and put it in the oven at 375, as the online recipes seemed to agree on.

I checked every now and then and decided to take it out after 35 minutes.  Notice the beautiful brown edges on the dish -- that's what the meat is supposed to look like.  But no beautiful brown on the chop, just a layer of whitish curds that tasted good but looked nasty.  And the meat was dry (not that I didn't eat it, but still... not ready for prime time).

So I guess we'll have a turkey.

And if anybody out there knows how to fix pork chops baked in milk, please let me know.  There will be a Christmas again next year, I hear.

1 comment:

  1. Milk--at that time (my mother--your mother) came in a bottle topped with heavy cream. I think that is what your mother used. Heavy cream off the top of the bottle. I bake chicken in cream and they get very nice and brown.