Glazed Pork Chops with Home Fries and a Fried Egg – The Ultimate Breakfast for Dinner

brunch-pork chops, home fries and a fried egg
We made this brunch meal a few weeks ago and it has stuck with me as one of the most satisfying meals I’ve had in a long time.  A salty/sweet glazed pork chop with home fries and a fried egg – the perfect brunch!  The pork recipe comes from Serious Eats and we followed it to the letter.  So I will give you my home fries recipe, here, and let you follow the Serious Eats link to make the rest.   This was just as good as any brunch you might get on Sunday at a nicer restaurant and best of all – it only took about 30 minutes!  Serious Eats is one of our favorite sites for recipes.  There are certain, very popular sites (don’t want to drop names but it starts with a M and ends with an artha Stewart dot com)  that don’t have reliable recipes.  You can tell when a recipe has just been thought up but not tested thoroughly.  Not so at Serious Eats.  You can bet that each recipe has been done a few times and you can rely on the promised outcome!

That’s another thing I love about writing this blog and reading most food blogs – the author is posting things she has literally tried at home!  So even if something goes wrong here or there, you can ask questions in the comments and be a part of the unofficial test group in helping to refine the recipe!  And I hope you all who read my blog will tell me when you hit road bumps.  I’m learning every day how to be better at this craft and it’s not helping me one bit if you stay silent when a recipe goes wrong for you!

Happy cooking and when in doubt, fry up some potatoes…

Pork Chops with Home Fries and a Fried Egg

Seasoned Home Fries
makes two servings (plus 1/2 for the little tater tot at your table)

1 large baking potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Scrub the potato and dice evenly into 1/2″ square dice.  The more evenly you chop, the more evenly your potatoes will cook!  Heat a large saucepan filled with water over high heat till boiling.  Drop the potatoes and cook until partially cooked – still a little firm, but getting softer on the outside when pierced with a fork.  Remove the potatoes and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and pat the potatoes dry.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers.  Season the potatoes with season salt and pepper and toss in the skillet.  Let them brown evenly on each side and then remove from heat, adjust seasoning as you wish and serve with pork chops and a fried egg!

brunch

 

Potatoes Gratin

food-12

This is such a beautifully simple dish.  It’s also quite rich and begs that you throw away your fear of dairy, potatoes and butter and embrace how amazing those ingredients, in combination, can truly be.  This is not the potatoes gratin you are used to where rather thick slices of potato are all stacked on top of each other in a huge dish, covered in cheese.  This recipe actually has no cheese.  I know I’d had the dehydrated versions of potatoes gratin out of the box, and possibly something similar at a buffet, but I’d never tried making it myself until we read the book, Must Have Been Something I Ate, by Jeffrey Steingarten. (This book will change you.)

The section of his book that this recipe comes from is entitled “There is a God in Heaven”, (I love a person as emphatic about food as I am)  with the quote beneath the section headline, “But as luck would have it, there is a God in Heaven.  Medical researchers now know that not all saturated fats are the same, and that cocoa butter does not raise our cholesterol.”  And in that section is an entire chapter dedicated to Gratin Dauphinois (the French created this dish, of course), or Potatoes Gratin.  Gratin, coming from the word “gratter”, meaning, “to scrape”  referring to the crispy bits of cream that get glued to the sides of the pan and scrape off and crunch so amazingly well.  Say no more.

We have eaten this dish as a meal, before, but it goes best as an accompaniment to a really great steak and a really fresh salad or other light side.  Also, don’t make the mistake of serving a rich dessert  after eating these potatoes.  I’m all for indulgence and you will never, ever find me saying that you should avoid entire food groups or ingredients altogether (bring on the corn, cheese, gluten, you name the poison) but I am also not dumb enough to serve a rich dessert after a dish this heavy.  You’d sink all the way to the bottom of the playa lake.  Everything in balance!

food-15

Potatoes Gratin*
serves 6-8 as a side

4 tbs butter, softened to room temp
1 cup whole milk
1 large garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1.5 lbs baking potatoes
1.5 cups heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 425F. Place the milk, garlic clove, pepper, salt and nutmeg in a small saucepan, stir, bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, liberally butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13″ baking dish, using about half the butter.  Peel the potatoes, rinse them, and pat them dry.  Then, slice them 1/8th of an inch thick, discarding the smallest slices (This is easier with a mandoline) The cooking times really depend on this thickness, so don’t go too much thicker.  Under no circumstances should you wash the potatoes after they have been sliced — the surface starch is absolutely indispensable.

Evenly arrange the potatoes in the buttered dish in ONE LAYER of overlapping slices.  You will undoubtedly have some slices left over.  Don’t try to cram them in.  Bring the milk to a boil again and pour it over the potatoes, removing the garlic.  Cover the pan with a sheet of foil and bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, until most of the milk has been absorbed.  Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil and remove from heat.  When the potatoes are ready, remove and discard the foil.  Bring the cream back to a boil and pour it over the potatoes, dotting the surface with the remaining butter.

Bake, uncovered, for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the potatoes have turned golden brown, spotted with darker, crisp areas.  You may need to rotate the dish halfway through cooking to ensure an even browning. We love thyme leaves in this dish and will sprinkle some on when the dish is nearly done baking.  Let the gratin settle for 10 minutes.  Then eat immediately – taste and texture suffer with each passing minute.  Cut into 6 to 8 rectangles and serve with a wide, metal slotted spatula.

*most of the text taken directly from Jeffrey Steingarten’s book.  Go get it!

food-14