PORK CHOP W/ DOUBLE MUSTARD AMARETTO CREAM SAUCE

For all of my swine lovers out there, this one is for you! Pork chops were made to be cut thick, so that they can retain all that good flavor on this inside. Those thin cut ones just don’t do it for me. They tend to get tough and dry out very quickly. Now, the next thing I am going to tell you may shock you a bit……..you CAN eat pork at a medium rare/medium temperature. It will NOT make you sick. I know the majority of you all just said out loud, “oh HELL NAH, this man is crazy!” And that is ok, you are free to cook your meat any way that you like to eat it. I am just letting you know that THIS recipe is how I eat mine. If you like that tough, dry meat, you go ahead and eat that, luckily I got a great sauce for you to give it some moisture, lol.

As far as pairings for this dish are concerned….here some of my favorites; beer (of the amber variety), bourbons, and rums. An amaretto sour would also not be a bad cocktail choice to compliment AND contrast the sauce for this dish, while also enhancing the some of the slight sweetness in the pork rub. Wine is also a really great pairing for this. Some consider pork, “the other white meat” and with the creaminess of the sauce, a lightly oaked chardonnay would be a great fit. On the red side, merlot and red zinfandel come to mind. Until the next dish y’all!

Ingredients:

  • 2 8oz THICK pork chops
  • Bassett’s Blends Pork Rub (coming soon for purchase) feel free to use your favorite pork chop rub
  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 5oz dijon mustard
  • 5oz whole grain mustard
  • 4oz heavy cream
  • 4oz amaretto liqueur

Directions: Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees. Generously season your pork chops. In a cast iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once your skillet is hot, add in your pork chops and sear on the first side. Let sear for 3-4 minutes (or until you have a nice golden brown color), and then flip the chops. Once you flip the chops, put the entire pan into your oven to finish the cooking process. Cook pork to your desired temperature (time will vary based on size/thickness of chop as well as desired temperature).

For the sauce: First things first we want to burn off the alcohol from the amaretto. the easiest way to do this is to pour the 4oz of amaretto into a small skillet, and using the flame (if using a gas range) on your stove top to ignite it. The fire will go out once the alcohol has burned off, once flame goes out set to the side. If you do not have a gas range, a lighter will work just fine. In a saucepan, over medium high heat, add in both mustards as well as the heavy cream and whisk. Continue to whisk while cooking so that it does not burn and stick to the bottom of your pan. Once mixture begins to bubble, whisk in your amaretto, and let cook for about 5 minutes. Season to taste.

SEARED DUCK WITH ORANGE SAUCE

Duck, Duck, Duck, Orange Sauce! I love duck. The first time I ever experienced the pleasures of eating duck, was at a Chinese restaurant when I was young. I thought it was really cool to watch the chef come to the table, and using a cleaver of all the knife possibilities, and watch him carve this thing up table side. The brilliance in which he was able to utilize his knife skills to perfectly separate the skin from the meat, the meat from the bones, and the bones for the skeleton of the duck was simply amazing to me. I still long for knife skills like his!

The crispiness of the skin, the tender, juiciness of the duck, and just the overall flavor was something that has stuck with me my entire life from that point on. Peking Duck is still my favorite thing to order when I eat out at a Chinese restaurant.

Duck is also used a lot in classic French cooking and that is where the inspiration for this dish came from. The classic dish is Duck l’ Orange. I have taken a few liberties with the l’ Orange part and kind of made this sauce my own.

If you are looking for great wine pairings for this dish, Cabernet Sauvignon is probably my go to, but a smooth Viognier would also be great for a white wine. I do not drink a lot of beer, but this just seems perfect for a real juicy, citrusy IPA.

OK, enough small talk, lets get to this recipe!

For The Duck:

  • 1 Duck Breast
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • Chinese 5 spice (to taste)

Directions: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Make sure to “score” the fat side of the duck breast. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Chinese 5 spice. In a skillet on medium high heat, place the duck breast skin side down in the pan. Do not put any cooking oil into the pan, there is enough fat in the duck that you will not need any. Sear the duck for about 4-5 minutes until skin is crispy, and the fat has rendered out. Transfer duck to sizzle plate or baking sheet and place into the oven and cook until desired temperature. I cook mine to medium rare. Remove from oven and let rest 5-7 minutes before slicing.

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 shallot (sliced)
  • 1 garlic clove (diced)
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 3oz Madarin Napolean
  • 3oz red wine
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

Directions: using the same pan that the duck was seared in, on medium heat, add in shallot, garlic, and peppercorns. Saute in the duck fat until shallots become translucent. De-glaze the pan with the orange liqueur and give a quick whisk. Next add in the red wine, and then the sugar. Whisk in the sugar until it is incorporated into the liquid. Next add in the juice from 2 oranges, and the beef stock. Whisk again, and let liquid reduce until it begins to thicken. Once sauce has reduced and thickened, remove from heat and strain into serving vessel. Finally whisk in 1 tablespoon of cold butter.

LAMB CHOPS WITH SWEET ONION FENNEL JAM

They say to give the people what they want, and they will come! Well, I asked, you all voted, and the lamb chops won….IN A LANDSLIDE!!

Lamb chops are actually one of my favorite proteins to cook. It used to be what I would cook on a date night with a girl the first time I had her over for dinner. They just seem fancy right? Most people think of entrees when cooking lamb, and while this recipe can certainly be served as such, I actually prefer to use this one as appetizer. Something that can be easily passed, or dressed up nice on a platter. Just my thought, obviously feel free to serve them whenever and however you want.

As you know, we always cook with spirit, and this recipe is no different. Today I am using Rumple Minze peppermint schnapps. Traditionally, lamb is served with a side of mint jelly. For this recipe, as the title states, we are going to be making a sweet onion and fennel jam. I still wanted to keep that tradition of mint, but I needed to be a bit extra and put my own spin on it!

I remember back in my early days of tending the bar, Rumple Minze used to be THE end of the night shot at last call. I’m not sure why it was, because its really not that great on its own. Maybe it was because now the guests were looking for who they were going to make out with, or maybe it was so that after they had been drinking all night at the bar, if they took a shot of this, the cops would have no idea that they were drunk when they got pulled over. Who knows, but both sound pretty logical to me.

Anyway, until the next dish…..enjoy

Ingredients: (Lamb Chops)

  • 1 qt herb oil (see previous post about herb oil)
  • fresh thyme
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 rack of lamb

Directions: Marinate you rack of lamb in 1 quart of herb oil for at least an hour. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Heat an iron skillet (or cooking pan of choice) on a medium high heat. Because the lamb has been marinating in the herb oil, there is no need to add more oil to your pan. Once the pan is hot, place the rack into the pan and sear for 4-5 minutes. Flip the rack over, and place the entire pan into the oven, and cook to desired temperature (I cook mine to 135 degrees). When the desired temperature has been reached, remove the pan and place it back on the stove top. Add in a few stems of fresh thyme, 2 smashed garlic cloves, and the 2 table spoons of butter. Spoon the melted butter/garlic mixture over the rack for a few minutes.

Ingredients: (Sweet Onion Fennel Jam)

  • 1 bulb of fennel (finely diced, about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium sized sweet onion (finely diced, about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 oz Rumple Minze
  • 1.5 cups plain white sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • fresh mint leaves, about 7

Directions: Using a medium sized pot, over high heat, add in the diced fennel and sweet onion ONLY. As you begin to smell the onion and fennel, and can hear it sizzle in the pan, give it a good stir, then add in the 2 oz of Rumple Minze (CAUTION!!! This is alcohol, and high proof at that, it can catch on fire, so pour carefully and slowly!!) Next you will need to add in the 2 cups of sugar, and the 1/2 cup of cider vinegar. Stir to mix thoroughly. Once mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium and reduce until a jam consistency. Make sure to stir every few minutes so it does not burn. While the jam is still hot, finely chop up the mint leave and add those in. Allow jam to cool about 15-20 minutes before using. The reduction does take some time, usually about 20 -30 minutes…..but it is so worth it!