Andouille Crusted Pork Chops with Sweet Potato-Smoked Chile Grits

Holy toledo, these pork chops rock.  The key to a juicy, tender pork chop is brining it before you cook it.  Brining was originally used to preserve meats and fish before we had refrigerators, but now is a popular way to prepare meats, especially cuts that lack fat.  This preparation tenderizes the meat and helps keep it moist during cooking, guaranteeing succulent meat even when cooked to medium-well.  Have a sold you on the wonders of brining yet?  Ok, good, moving on…

You will need:
for the brine:
2 1/4 quarts water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves

4 (14 ounce each) double-cut pork chops
1/2 cup Creole mustard

2 cups andouille crust:
1 pound andouille sausage
1 cup bread crumbs
Remove sausage from casing and render over medium heat until the oil has been released.  Add the bread crumbs and stir well to combine.  Put mixture in a food processor and pulse a few times.  This makes the mixture a bit finer and sticks better to the chops.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the water,the salt and brown sugar; heat over high, stirring, until the salt and sugar dissolve.  Pour into a large deep bowl or another container large enough to hold the pork and the brine.  Add the peppercorns, bay leaves and remaining cold water.  Stir to mix well.

Make sure the brine is completely cool, then add the pork chops.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the grill high and your oven to 400°.  Take the pork chops out of the brine and shake off a bit.  Place on the grill and sear for 3 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill and cool a bit.  Smear the chops with the mustard and dredge them in the andouille crust.  Place the pork chops on a large baking sheet and put in the oven and roast for about 20 to 25 minutes for medium.

Sweet Potato & Smoked Chile Grits

Probably the best grits in the whole world. Period.

You will need:
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons chipotle chile puree
kosher salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking grits (my favorite is Indian Head stone ground)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey

Cook your sweet potato the way you prefer – oven or microwave – we just use the microwave, until tender.  Pell the sweet potato and puree the flesh in a food processor, or use a ricer.  Set aside.

For the chipotle chile puree, just buy a jar or can of them at the store.  Either use a food processor to blend, or just chop very fine.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the stock, milk, chipotle puree and 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil.  Slowly whisk in the grits, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the sweet potato puree and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth and thickened.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and honey to taste.  Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Serves: 4
Time: 55 minutes (plus the time for brining)
From: combination of Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali & Bobby Flay

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One Comment

  1. Lea Fadden
    Posted September 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to try this polenta recipe. Yum!! I hope you’re doing well. We miss you at Jackson. I seriously need some recipes for easy kid snacks–can you work on that?! ;o)

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