Monday, July 1, 2013

Paper Pork

Boneless pork chops were on sale the other day and I came home with a package of ten.  This was sufficient to motivate me to find a fun and interesting recipe for this blog!

Actually, I found two very similar ones.  Both were in Thomas Jefferson's Cook Book, by Marie Kimball, on page 59.

ISBN: 0-8139-0706-3

One was for veal cutlets and the other was for lamb chops.  I figured they would work well with pork chops, so I tried them out.

Veal Cutlets in Papers

Take 2 pounds of veal cutlet, in 2 cutlets, and flatten well.  Butter a sheet of paper, sprinkle with bread crumbs, mushrooms, and herbs chopped very fine.  Salt and pepper.  Butter two other sheets of paper and put under the first.  Lay your cutlet on, twist your paper round in the form of the piece and tie it with a short piece of thread.  Do the same with both cutlets.  Put in a baking pan and bake one hour in a moderate oven.  When they are done, remove outer paper.  -- Annette

Another Way

Take 6 lamb chops, put each in sheet of paper that has been well buttered on the inside and dipped in water to prevent burning.  Season with salt, pepper, and bread crumbs.  Roll them in the papers to preserve the gravy, tying the ends of the paper neatly.  Bake in a moderate oven three-quarters of an hour.  Serve them in the papers.  -- Volney

I used parchment paper.  My pork chops were pretty thin, so I didn't flatten them at all.  I tried one version with the three layers of paper but my thoughts were that they weren't needed -- one would be enough.  The other four used just one piece of paper.

These recipes reminded me of a dinner I fixed with my Girl Scout Troop years ago, so I wrapped the other five chops in aluminum foil.

Each paper/foil sheet was buttered over a wide area, then sprinkled with dried bread crumbs and sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Then I played with the flavorings:  one had mushrooms and chives; the others had one of the following herbs: basil, lemon thyme, lovage, or lemon balm.  I love my herb garden!
Mushrooms and chives
The pork chops were last to go on.  
Next step:  enclosure!
The first packet, with three layers of paper, I gathered up like a pouch and tied it off.  The rest I folded two sides together and then brought the other two sides up and over so I had a flat purse.

String is knotted
String can be untied by pulling on the short end

All were nestled onto a baking sheet and put in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes.  That was a good amount of time and maybe could have been shortened to 20 minutes since the chops were so thin.  

The Verdict:  MOIST.  Tender.  Flavorful.  Juicy.  All the words that normally I don't use on pork chops because they tend to be dry and chewy.  Success!  I tried two packets:  one foil with lovage, which was good but the lovage flavor was unusual to my taste buds (it is a new herb to my garden).  The other was the original packet with chives and mushrooms and it was superb.

Camouflage chop!
The butter did its job to keep the chop from sticking to the paper or foil.  The breadcrumbs did their job of soaking up the juices and holding the flavors close to the meat.  

I think this would be a fun dish to serve to company.  I can imagine sending around a platter with these little packets that each guest would pick up and unwrap at their plate.  Be sure to have a bowl handy to hold the used wrappers.

The only thing I would change is that I would put some bread crumbs and herbs/spices on top of the pork chop, too.  The underside of the chops was the prettiest so I flipped each one as I scooped it out of its wrapper.  Upon rereading the second recipe, I think it is telling me to put the seasonings on top.

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