2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
ason the pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a plate.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Return the pork and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the pork is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Serve with roasted potatoes and spoon the pork mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.
Pork chops are one of the easiest meals to prepare, but many people avoid making the simple dish because they have trouble cooking the perfect pork chop. Why? For various reasons, the pork chops often turn out under-cooked, overcooked or tough. If you want to make a delicious pork chop, these simple cooking tips can help you create a perfect pork chop every time.
First, choose the right pork chop.
Here at Circle B Ranch we have a delicious full 10 ounce bone-in chop. Since it is thicker it takes a longer to cook. The bone gives the meat a richer flavor.
TIP: Pork chops—such as Circle B Ranch Berkshire Pork Chops—that come from pasture-fed heritage-breeds contain a more full-bodied essence.
Brine the pork chops to deliver more flavor.
Brining the pork chops improves the taste and texture of the meat. Brining seasons both the exterior and the interior and changes the structure of the meat to result in a juicier chop. It takes as little as 30 minutes, but you can brine the chops for up to 4 hours.
TIP: You can also dry brine the chops by rubbing them thoroughly with salt and pepper.
Do not cook pork chops cold.
Cooking the chops straight from the refrigerator results in overcooking. If the pork chop is too cold, the outside will cook before the inside of the meat reaches the correct temperature.
TIP: Before cooking the chops, set them out for 15-30 minutes, just enough time to let the meat get to room temperature.
Sear pork chops before baking.
Searing your chops before baking helps avoid overcooking and develops more flavor by sealing in the meat’s juices. This cooking method causes a chemical reaction, called the “Maillard effect,” which boosts the depth of flavor. Searing also improves the overall presentation of the pork chop, because it caramelizes sugars and creates a golden-brown crust.
To sear, begin with a hot pan at high heat. The high heat will create caramelization and a quick seal to keep in the juices. If finishing the chop in the skillet, bring the heat down to medium to prevent overcooking of the outside and undercooking of the inside.
Start by searing the “presentation” side of the chop—the side your dinner guests will see on their plate—first. Cook from 1 ½ to 3 minutes per side to obtain a perfect golden-brown crust.
Don’t trim the fat from the chops before searing; the fat will brown and crisp, giving you pork chop even more flavor.
Grill chops to perfection by varying heat.
Grilling a pork chop is comparative to cooking it in a pan on the stove top. Start with a hot grill; properly preheating the grill aids in searing the meat and helps with caramelization. Place the chops over direct heat (directly over the heat source) to give it a quick sear and seal in juices. Then move the chops into indirect heat to cook them properly—the process is slower, allowing the inside of the meat to thoroughly cook without burning the outside.
If you have marinated or wet brined your meat, pat off excess moisture. The idea is to give the chops flavor yet get them to sear instead of steam.
Do not use sharp utensils to turn the chops. Keep moistness and flavor by using a spatula or tongs that will not pierce the meat and release juices.
For a juicier chop, rest the meat before indulging.
Resting the chops allows the fiber of the meat to relax; this means the juices redistribute through the meat. It only takes a few minutes of rest to obtain a tender juicier chop.
TIP: Rest the chop after cooking for 5-10 minutes. You can finish last-minute meal preparations while the meat rests.
Follow these cooking tips to get a perfectly cooked pork chop every time. You can say goodbye to raw or tough pork chops, and your family will love indulging in a simple but delightful meal. [ ... ]
It’s April and the Farmer’s Market is full of produce and people. I love shopping for fresh fruit and veggies at my local farmer’s market. Why? I know that it is 100% farmer and producer based. The produce has not been supplemented or modified and not sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. At my farmer’s market I can select the freshest ingredients and know I am choosing the healthiest options.
I usually swing by the farmer’s market at least once a week. As I peruse the selections, I’m often planning dinner for the next day and selecting my entrée based on the produce in season. April is the month for veggies. Asparagus, morels, rhubarb, and cabbage are plentiful, so I will adjust my menu and prepare some of my favorite recipes to include them.
When it comes to asparagus, I like to use it in a Bacon Asparagus Strata. I often make this dish for Easter dinner, but it is perfect for any occasion. I especially love this recipe because it is so easy to make. You can prep the dish the night before, put it in the fridge, and slip it into a timed oven when you are ready. And the results are delicious!
As for Morels, we are essentially in the middle of the season. I love pairing these tasty mushrooms with pasta whenever I can find them. Pasta with Morels, Asparagus & Goat Cheese combines asparagus, morels, and Terrill Creek Farm Goat Cheese. You can’t beat this combination for flavor!
Rhubarb season is just beginning. In season from April until June, the veggie is often included in desserts, but I like to embrace it in entrees as well. It stars in one of my go-to recipes: Berkshire Pork Chops with Rhubarb Compote. This dish is the perfect choice for grilling now that the weather is beginning to warm up. Simply grill the Berkshire porkchops, top it with the rhubarb compote, and serve it alongside farro and your pick of veggies.
While cabbage isn’t my favorite, Big John can’t live without it (especially if I cook it with kielbasy). I often make him a Kielbasy & Cabbage Skillet. The dish is no fuss and no muss. It is easily prepared in one skillet.
In essence, April provides a complete diversity of veggies for our palates. If you get a chance, swing by your local farmer’s market and see what is available in your area. You can try any of these recipes or create an entrée of your own. [ ... ]
Sometimes, you need to celebrate something and plan on impressing a special guest with an awesome-looking and delicious dinner. Other times, you may feel like getting creative and want to turn a regular evening meal into a tasteful delight. Here are 7 meal suggestions, paired with complementing drinks and helpful cooking tips, to inspire you.
1. Pork Chops
Pork chops are rich in taste but extremely versatile. There are numerous ways to prepare chops—from baking to grilling, to frying. You are only limited by your imagination.
This recipe for Circle B Ranch Pork Chops with Cranberry-Maple Pan Sauce is quick to prepare, and the dish will impress any special dinner guest with its perfect combination of spice and sweetness.
Food Network's Harvest Pork Chops with Cranberry and Kale look striking on the plate, are surprisingly easy to make, and are extremely tasty. This meal contains an enticing blend of flavors: cranberry, rosemary, garlic, and a touch of grainy mustard for balance. TIP: For this recipe, the trick is in the cranberry and Italian sausage stuffing. Make sure to evenly stuff the pork chops, and follow the recipe’s suggestion on closing the chops while cooking to keep the stuffing in.
Blends with Red Wine
You can successfully serve your pork dish with a light red wine, such as a Zinfandel or Grenache-based variety. Your chosen wine should have a good acidity to balance the meat’s strong taste.
2. Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts are low-fat and are relatively easy to prepare, generally taking around 20 minutes to cook. For your special dinner, try cooking the chicken breasts with tortellini or potatoes, or steaming them to create a juicy effect. When prepared with mascarpone and rosemary, chicken breasts become a treat for the palette.
Tip: Don’t buy boneless and skinless half breasts that weigh more than 8 – 9 ounces. These come from stewing hens. Therefore, they are hard to make tender when not cooked in liquid.
Blends with White Wine
Try a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc to go with your chicken breast dinner. These wines enhance their taste when consumed with a meal containing green herbs.
3. Roasted Whole Chicken
Roast chicken has pros and cons. While roast chicken may take considerable time to cook—approximately 20 minutes per pound—it has its charm in its sauce, which leaves you plenty of room for creativity. If you prefer a spicy flavor, try a sauce with jalapenos, cilantro, and lime juice or prepare a Cajun-style recipe. For a sweeter taste, go with apples and cider or honey and herbs.
Tip: The more generous the stuffing, the juicier and tastier the chicken. Moreover, always remember to tie the chicken legs with a cooking string.
Blends with Red Wine
Red wines have a higher acid content and mix with the little fat from chicken and generous seasonings. If you add extra herbs, you can go for a red burgundy variety.
Salmon is one of the easiest dishes to prepare and one of the quickest to cook. Baked in the oven, salmon is fully cooked at about 15 minutes. Pan frying the fish takes about 10 minutes. You can serve it with kale or other choice greens or veggies. However, salmon enhances its taste and becomes lighter when cooked with olive oil.
Tip: Cooking salmon with the skin on helps crisp the salmon while preventing overcooking.
Blends with Beer
You can try a German pilsner, which is fresh and bitter enough to balance the salmon’s fat. Also, white beers—low-alcohol wheat beers traditionally flavored with orange peel and coriander—mix with any kind of sea food, especially salmon.
Lamb is not a dish you cook every day, but it is easy to prepare. For example, it takes about half an hour to cook a well-done leg of lamb meal, and you do not need to marinate the meat beforehand. There are several options for cooking a leg of lamb, but it shines when cooked with green veggies and herbs. TIP: Lamb leg goes well with garlic and rosemary. Moreover, you can serve it with pesto sauce and a touch of mint.
If you want to try an even fancier dinner, prepare a rack of lamb. Circle B Ranch’s recipe for Pomegranate-Glazed Rack of Lamb will excite any dinner guest with the combined flavors of Pomegranate, rosemary, honey, and orange.
Blends with Cocktails
That sweet and fresh cocktail completes the subtle spicy taste of roast lamb leg. However, the dish is also wine friendly if you don’t choose a dry variety. Go for sweet, fresh and chilly options. Pair the pomegranate-glazed rack of lamb with a white wine to complement the pomegranate flavor.
6. Risotto with Shrimp
Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp is a light idea that combines flair with the simplicity of a home-cooked dinner. If you add Parmesan to the risotto and roast the shrimp for 5 minutes before adding them to the risotto, you will get a delightful restaurant-style meal in your home.
Tip: Use the oven for the shrimp and make sure they are pink before adding them to the risotto. Also, serve immediately to enjoy a warm meal.
Blends with Dry Wine
A dry white one is the perfect choice for risotto and shrimp. It will add a sharp flavor to the meal, while keeping the sensation of a complex and delightful treat.
7. Chow Mein
Chow Mein is a Chinese recipe with a touch of Cantonese gourmet. It’s rich in content, and yet light when you consume it. Based on egg noodles, Chow Mein contains bamboo, shrimp, roast pork , chicken, beef and plenty of sauce. It’s also easy to cook and has a little sister – Low Mein.
Tip: Follow the recipe every step of the way. Instructions are important, as you cook the recipe from scratch. Also, remember that al dente means cooked so that is seems ready, not soft.
Blends with Juice
A subtle, not so sweet juice goes perfectly with Chow Mein. Extremely sweet juice will enhance the spicy taste. Instead, choose a fresh one: oranges or tangerines. You can also go for a Sauvignon Blanc, as it is preferred for most Chinese dishes.
Remember, you don’t always need a special occasion to create a delicious and elaborate meal. These seven dish ideas can help you create a special gourmet dinner in your home in no time. Completing them with the suggested drinks will add an extra sparkle if you want to create a restaurant atmosphere.
Don’t forget to include salads or a dessert course to round out the meal, or to choose the healthiest and safest ingredients for the recipes. Choose your meal, purchase its ingredients, prepare your special dinner, and get ready to dine!
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