Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Herb Dressing

I'm not a big fan of pork chops. They're not the easiest things in the world to cook, because it doesn't take much to turn them from delicious to dry and tough. I'm too distracted of a cook, and often end up forgetting them a little too long.

This recipe, for Panko-Crusted Pork Chops, is the kind that requires a little paying attention, but it's done really fast, which is great. I had about 40 minutes total from when I walked in the door until I had to walk back out the door, taking both kids to two different places. Could I make a healthy, yummy dinner in that short a period of time, from start to finish?

Turns out I could :-) Though this is one of those breading and dredging kind of recipes (another of the winners from my Cooking Light cookbook), it came together quite fast. I served it with my Ginger-Honey carrots, a couple other leftover side dishes (pasta or potato salad, diner's choice ;-) and some rolls. The original recipe is here--I altered it slightly because I was feeding four, and knew only two of us (DH and me) would eat the dressing. So I doubled the pork chops part, kept the dressing at a serving for two. The dressing really offset the chops nicely. I liked the combination of hot and cold, crusty and smooth.

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Herb Dressing

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 large egg whites
2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
3-4 teaspoons canola oil (I ended up adding more than the recipe called for. I think I didn't get the pan and oil hot enough first, so the pork chops absorbed it pretty fast, and I needed to add more to get that nice golden crust)

1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons sour cream (the recipe called for FF, which I hate, so I used light)
1 tablespoon milk (recipe called for fat-free; I had 2% on hand)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (DH is a Miracle Whip guy, so that's what I had on hand)
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Heat a saucepan at medium-high (I used one that could go in the oven; reduced the number of dishes because I didn't have to transfer the pork to a baking pan).

I find pie plates make the best containers for dredging, so I used three: in the first, combine the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder. In dish #2, combine the soy sauce and the egg whites. In dish #3, put the panko bread crumbs (yes you can use regular bread crumbs but panko is VERY yummy and very cheap. It's in the bread crumb aisle. Worth the extra box in your cabinet!). Add the canola oil to the pan and let it heat while you ready the pork chops. Dredge the pork chops in flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs. Shake off excess, then put the chops into the pan and fry them on each side for a couple minutes, enough to get that yummy golden brown color. Put the pork chops into the oven and cook for 6 minutes (or until done), or if you're like me and forget, they end up cooking for 8 minutes, LOL.

Mix all ingredients for the dressing. Serve on top of the pork.

The verdict: all members of the family liked the pork chops. DH was a little skeptical about the sauce at first, but told me later he really liked it and thought it added a nice flavor to the chops. This was nicely flavorful, and pretty quick and easy. It's definitely on my to-cook list for another time.


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