Sunday, September 22, 2013

Scotch Eggs with Dill Aioli!

I've been wanting to make Scotch Eggs for such a long time!  And now that I'm in a new kitchen, I decided to bite the bullet and give them a try it!  A bizarre construction, Scotch Eggs are hard-boiled eggs, wrapped in sausage and sprinkled with breadcrumbs.  Ironically, they were invented by a store in London in the 1700's as a picnic snack, easily taken on long carriage rides.  But now, they've made it into the inner circles of the culinary world, fluttering their way through gastropubs, the Food Network and even Michelin-starred restaurants.  You have to take a bite of one of these unusual delicacies!

Scotch Eggs 

4 Eggs
H2O, for boiling
1/2 lb. Ground breakfast sausage
1 C. Panko bread crumbs
Vegetable Oil Spray (like Pam)
Dill Aioli (Recipe follows)

I promise these are not furry!  But I guess now I know how to create that effect for Halloween food.

Preheat the oven to 400.

(Thanks for some perfect hardboiled advice). Place the eggs in a small saucepan and cover with cool water.  Set over high heat and bring to a boil.  Put the lid on the pot and turn off the heat.  Let the eggs cook for 3 minutes.  Drain the hot water and run cool water over the eggs.  Set them aside to cool slightly.  When the eggs are cool enough to handle, crack the shells and carefully peel them.

Pour the bread crumbs into a shallow bowl and set aside.

Take a small amount of ground sausage (about 1/8 lb.) Roll it into a ball and then flatten it between your palms until it is less than a 1/4" thick.  Place the hard boiled egg in the middle of the sausage and carefully wrap the sausage around the egg.  It takes a little bit of delicate work, but as long as just about all of the egg is covered, you'll be fine.

Gently roll the sausage-covered egg in the breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet.  Repeat with each of the eggs.  Lightly spray each egg with a bit of oil to help the breadcrumbs crisp up.

Bake the eggs for about 10 minutes, or until the sausage is brown and fully cooked.  Serve with dill aioli.

Dill Aioli

This is hardly a recipe!  But, it renders fabulous results.  Dill is a strong, yet delicate herb and it lends a fresh lightness to mayonnaise.  This is great as a dip for Scotch Eggs or French Fries or a spread for sandwiches.

Dill Aioli

1/2 C. Mayonnaise (I prefer Hellman's)
2 T. minced fresh dill

Combine and set in the refrigerator so the flavors can marry.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apple Cider Pork Chops

It's September in Ohio.  And you know what that means, don't you?  Apple season!  Get. Excited. 

Another kitchen mishap gave birth to this scrumptious fall meal and incredible sauce.  My original plan was to make pork chops topped with garlic cream cheese and onions.  After removing the onions from the skillet, the brown bits began to burn, so I tossed my nearby glass of apple cider right in.  Once it hit the pan, it dawned on me:  apple cider glaze.  I let the juice reduce and took it one step further.  I mixed in my garlic cream cheese and a classic was born. 

This dish is sweet and packed with autumn flavor.  The pork chops are moist and juicy, the onions slightly sweet with a perfect crunch and the sauce is creamy and delightful.  Serve them with potatoes and something green for the ultimate impressive dinner. 

Apple Cider Pork Chops

4 pork chops
4 oz. garlic cream cheese at room temperature, recipe follows
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped into thin petals
1 ½ - 2 C. dark and cloudy Apple Cider
Chives or Parsley, to garnish

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and set them in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350.

*If you'd rather not use your oven in addition to the stove, follow the instructions at the bottom of this recipe.

Heat a medium skillet with 2 T. olive oil over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the pork chops and sear for 3-4 minutes per side.  When the pork has a delicious brown edge, remove it and place in an oven safe dish covered with aluminum foil.  Set in the oven to continue cooking for about 10 minutes.  

In the skillet, add 1 T. more olive oil and add the onions.  Cook them over medium until they have caramelized.  They do not need to be dark, just caramel colored.  Remove them from the skillet and set aside. 

Add 1 C. of apple cider to the pan to deglaze, pulling up all the brown bits with your wooden spoon.  Boil the apple cider until it reduces by one half.  Add the cream cheese mixture and whisk it into the apple cider.  It will be clumpy at first.  DON’T WORRY!  Just keep whisking until a smooth and glossy sauce appears.  It will work!  Add more apple cider if the sauce becomes too thick. 

To plate, place the cooked pork chop down and top with caramelized onions.  Drizzle the sauce on top and around the pork chop.  Garnish with something green, for looks. I used green onions as garnish and I served these pork chops with Horseradish Potatoes Au Gratin.  Recipe coming soon!

*To complete this recipe without using the oven, when you remove the pork chops from the skillet, allow them to rest on a plate and cover them with foil.  After you've whisked your sauce into submission, nestle the pork chops into the sauce and allow them to cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the pork chops are thoroughly cooked.  You can even add the onions back into the pan, if you prefer.  

Garlic Cream Cheese

3 garlic cloves
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

Thoroughly combine in a small bowl and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to marry. 

**This can also be used as a dip for vegetables or a spread for toasted bread.  Add some thyme or dill for extra flavor and freshness!