Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coffee-Chipotle Pork Chops

I love reading books where I feel an instant rapport with the author. Such was the case with Lisa Fain, accomplished food blogger and author of The Homesick Texan Family Table cookbook. According to Fain, if you ask a Texan about their most memorable meal, it will not be one consumed at a fancy restaurant, but rather one enjoyed at the family table. I don't think I ever really thought about my most memorable meal until I read this book. I've dined along the canals in Venice, in the shadow of Notre Dame, had an omelet at 2:00 in the morning at a restaurant on London's Southhampton Row, but my most memorable, and enjoyable meals have been around a big table with family present. This, she says, is what her cookbook is all about, making memories at the table with those whom we love.  What is not to love about a premise like that?

Reading this book is like being at one of those meals. Fain is delightfully chatty and full of stories about family, friends, and great Texas food. My contention is that you can't get a bad meal in Texas, and this book proves it. Fain shares old family recipes from well-used recipe cards, regional specialties, Tex-Mex, coastal, all the varieties of food that encompass Texas cuisine. 

Displaced from Texas, she now makes her home in New York City, living in an apartment with a kitchen so small that, spreading her arms out, she can reach either side. There is one counter, a stove, small sink and refrigerator, but no dishwasher, no pantry, and no space for any utensil that doesn't have use, so has compiled a list of what she considers to be basic kitchen equipment at the beginning of the book to help aid new cooks in their selection. 

Shall we talk about the food?  If the fact that I am salivating as I write this is any indication, clearly I loved this book. I don't think I have ever found so many recipes that I intend to make in just one cookbook. Now I am partial to Texas cuisine, having lived in Austin for a brief time, so I may be a bit prejudiced here, but the variety of offerings, interesting combination of tastes, recipes that are, for the most part, easy to prepare, all had me champing at the bit to get cooking.  Each recipe has its own story and each is written in language that is easy to comprehend and follow. 

Breakfast is often a meal that leaves me stymied. Problem solved!  It turns out that Texans take their breakfasts seriously, and there are, seriously, a lot of wonderful recipes to start out your day.   I made the Dutch Baby pancake, Blueberry Granola, and Cranberry-Gruyere Scones, all winners. There is a recipe that I have yet to try, for homemade sausage, that sounds both easy and splendid. It will be on the breakfast table next week. 

Mouthwatering snacks abound, the zippy Bacon JalapeƱo Cheese Ball and I-can't-stop-eating-them Orange-Cinnamon Candied Pecans were two of my favorites. 

The Coffee-Chipotle Pork Chops were on the dinner table this evening. Now, I did brine them for three hours before covering them with the rub (and, as such, cut way back on the called for salt), and I left them in the refrigerator for four hours past the suggested eight, but these were the most moist and flavorful chops that I think I have ever consumed. And easy, you bet!  I love a recipe that takes little effort and a minimum of equipment, yet yields a lot of taste. 

Clearly, Fain knows what she's talking about when it comes to food. I'd tell you much more, but I'm afraid that you're just going to have to buy the book yourself. 

Coffee-Chipotle Pork Chops 

2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon finely ground dark-roasted coffee beans (I used espresso powder)
1 tablespoon paprika
1-1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

4 (5- to 6-ounce) bone-in pork chops, cut 3/4 to 1 inch thick (I used boneless, and brined them)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Mix together the salt, brown sugar, black pepper, ground coffee, paprika, chipotle powder, granulated garlic, cinnamon, cumin, and allspice. Coat each pork chop with the rub, covering both sides generously.  Reserve any leftover rub for another use. Place the pork chops in a plastic food-storage bag, and refrigerate for 8 hours. 

To cook the pork chops, remove them from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat, add the pork chops and cook on each side for 5 minutes. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook the pork chops for 15 minutes, uncovered, or until a meat thermometer reads 145°F. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. 

Serves 4

Disclaimer:  I received a free digital copy of this book, prior to publication, from NetGalley. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own. 

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1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hi Patti,
Oh my goodness, what a fantastic combination for your Pork Chops. I just love the coffee and chipotle combination and I can't wait to try it. I am pinning this! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday today, it is great to have you at the party. Hope you have a very special week and come back soon!
Miz Helen