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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gram's Seasoned Chops (+ Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread)

Gram's Seasoned Chops (+ Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread w/ Boysenberry Jam)
One of the food "subjects" near and dear to my heart is food memory.  The way a smell, a taste, a scent, a feel, or a sizzle can send a wave of nostalgia crashing down on you in an instant?  That blows me away.  I've written many times about dishes that pull me back to a time when Sun-in and jelly shoes were all the rage.  So, that's why, when my friend Lora (aka Savoring Italy), asked me if I'd like to write a post to contribute to her Food Memory series, I immediately said yes.

I adore the way that cooking a dish that a loved one used to cook for you, 24 years after they've passed away, makes it feel like they're at the table with you.  That's exactly how I feel when I sit down to a table loaded with a heaping plate of my Gram's Seasoned Pork Chops, a cast-iron skillet of cornbread, and some Boysenberry jam on the side.  I hope that you'll drop by and read a little food memory story that I wrote about my grandma, and some of the food that never fails to push her back to the front of my memory when I eat it, at Lora's place today - my Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread.

But to go along with the cornbread at Lora's place, I've also whipped up a batch of the simplest, most delicious pork chops in the world (to me).  My grandma always had the absolute thinnest cut chops, which she'd season up right with Lawry's seasoned salt, and then fry in a little bacon grease in her cast iron skillet.  We could tear through a pile in no time flat.  I've never been able to find chops quite as small as I remember hers being, but when I ask my butcher sweetly, he'll slice up some really thin chops (rib or loin, bone-in, depending on my mood...heck, maybe both).

Gram's Seasoned Chops (+ Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread w/ Boysenberry Jam)

Gram's Seasoned Chops
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 minutes (per batch)
Keywords: saute entree pork American

Ingredients (varies)
  • thinly sliced, bone-in rib or loin pork chops (~1/4-inch thick or less), 2 per person
  • your favorite seasoned salt, to taste
  • butter, olive oil, lard, or bacon grease, as needed
Sprinkle the chops on both sides with as little or as much seasoned salt as you like. Set a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Add a big pat of butter (or your chosen fat) to the hot skillet; as soon as it melts, add chops to the skillet. Be sure not to over-crowd the pan, as you want to have a nice sear on the outside, and do not want them to steam. They cook quickly, so turn after about 2 minutes, and repeat on opposite side. Remove to a foil-lined tray, and cover with more foil. Repeat until all chops are cooked through.
Serve with green beans, Sweet Brown Butter Cornbread, and Boysenberry jam.

Which foods hold great (or not-so-great) memories for you?