Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sage and Garlic Brined Pork Chops

I'm a big proponent of brining poultry. It just works. Ever since I brined my first turkey a few years back I have been sold.  So when I saw this recipe for brined pork chops I had to give it a whirl. The linked recipe is just for the brine, what you do with them from there is up to you.

1 1/2 ounces kosher salt, in 30 ounces of water
1 large shallot, sliced
10 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of the knife
1 lemon, halved
1 packed tablespoon sage leaves, fresh
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked in a mortar with pestle, or on a cutting board with the bottom of a heavy pan
4 pork chops, bone-in, about 8 ounces each
To make the brine:
  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the salt water, shallot, garlic, lemon, sage, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and bring to a simmer.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow the brine to come to room temperature.
  3. Refrigerate the brine uncovered until cold.
  4. Submerge the pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Remove the chops from the brine, discarding the brine. Rinse the chops and pat dry with paper towels.
Let them sit at room temperature for about 1 hour before you cook them. 

I pan fried mine and made a shallot, butter and white wine sauce to serve over them.

Heat up a frying pan large enough to comfortably fit all of the pork chops

3 Tbsp Butter
Olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 Tbsp shallots chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Add about a Tbsp of butter and once it melts add enough oil to the pan to have a thin layer covering the bottom of the pan.
Add your chops to the pan and cook 4-5 minutes on the first side. Once the chops are nice and brown flip and cook another 4 minutes or so, to an internal temperature of 145. Pull the chops form the pan and let them rest while you make the sauce. Add the remaining butter to the pan  and once it is melted add the shallots, saute for a minute or 2 then deglaze the pan with the white wine. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes

Taste the sauce after 2-3 minutes and add the lemon juice if desired. I thought the butter was a bit too rich so I added the lemon to cut it a bit.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Welcome Inn

I have not really done much in the way of restaurant reviews previously, but I'm in a bit of a cooking rut. I tend to limit myself to blogging only new things that I make and sometimes I don't do a whole lot of new stuff.  I did make a very quick chicken "curry" in the crockpot by using a jar of salsa, some chicken stock and curry powder as a way to turn some chicken thighs into a tasty dinner.

However that is not what I am here to talk about tonight. Tonight I want to talk about a recent trip to the Welcome Inn here in Syracuse. This review gives you some great insight into the history of the chef and the building.

A friend and I went with the kids for lunch and had a wide variety of offerings, and all of them were good. The adults each got the Ukranian platter, which gives you 2-3 different pierogies, kielbasa, kraut, holubchi and a cup of borscht. The Kraut pierogies in particular were just delicious. The kids got fish, a corned beef sandwich, kielbasa and a grilled cheese.

 I grew up in a household that never had any form of stuffed cabbage. My dad would serve my brother and I kraut when we had a boys night but stuffed cabbage was never an option. With a mom who cooked like my mother I never wanted for much, but she had a co-worker who made holubchi that I adored. Anytime there was an office party I either wanted to be there or have some brought home to me. (Thanks Frannie)
The version at the welcome inn was delicious; rich and hearty with just enough tomato sauce to keep it moist but not so much that it was drowning.

The unsung hero of the menu that we tried was the house made corned beef. The seasonings of were much more forward than your traditional store bought corned beef. The pastrami is also supposed to be incredible but we didn't try it.

They have very limited seating and hours of operation, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday, so plan accordingly. They also don't take credit cards.