Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chicken Fried Pork Cutlets

I hope you each have at least one friend that can make you laugh.  I am blessed to have a few.  One in particular has a dark sense of humor that can find something funny in the direst of circumstances and, for this, I love her.  As you know, I live in Egypt.  Recently she sent me the link to a news article about the kidnapping of two American tourists in the Sinai Peninsula.  Was she trying to warn me to stay safe?  Make sure I avoid the Bedouin tribes and a dangerous region?  Hardly.  Her email read in its entirety:  “Remember if we come to visit, do not pay ransom till I am a size 6.”  I almost spit my coffee out through my nose.

This post is for my dear friend, Gillian, because she keeps me laughing and keeps me honest and there is no better partner in crime.  This dish combines the two things she loves most: pork and fried food.  She says that I could deep-fry a piece of wood and she would eat it because frying makes everything taste better.   I cannot disagree.

6 thin boneless pork loin chops
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 cup or 125g plain flour (Plus 3-4 tablespoons more, if you are making gravy)
2 eggs
Canola or other light oil (for frying)
For gravy: Stock cube

Using a meat tenderizer mallet, gentle but gradually pound the cutlet flat, turning it over and over until it is very thin and spread out.  (Thinking of someone who has offended you recently, optional, but satisfying.)

Season well on both sides with salt and your two peppers and set aside.

Whisk two eggs in a shallow bowl or deep plate.

In another shallow bowl or deep plate, season your cup of flour with additional salt and the two peppers.  Stir well. 

Meanwhile heat about 2 in or 5cm of oil in a shallow saucepan.  Locate your splatter guard/screen to cover the pan after you put the cutlets in.   Ideally you want an oil temperature of about 365F or 185C before you are ready to put the cutlets in.  If you don’t have a candy thermometer, just cut a couple of cubes of bread and put them in periodically.  When the bread starts to toast nicely within a couple of minutes, your oil is probably hot enough.  (You might want to consider buying a thermometer though, simply because they are inexpensive and are also essential to candy making which is essential to human happiness.)

Dip the cutlets into the egg on both sides and allow the excess to drip back into the bowl.

Dredge the cutlets in the seasoned flour and then gently lower them into the oil.  

Fry for just a few minutes on each side, until they are golden and crispy.  Put your splatter guard on so you don't get popped with hot oil.  You may need to cook just two or three at a time so that they brown more quickly.  Too many pieces at a time lowers your oil temperature so browning cannot happen as it should.

Remove and drain on some paper towels.

If you would like to make gravy (and who wouldn’t?) put three or four tablespoons of the oil you used for frying into a clean skillet, over a low heat, with one stock cube.  I have pork stock cubes but you can use chicken instead quite nicely.

Add in a couple of tablespoons of plain flour.

Combine the flour and oil, making a small roux and mash the stock cube into the mix.

Add about a cup or 250ml of cold water and whisk until completely combined.  Cook over a low heat until the gravy thickens and no longer tastes floury.

Serve the gravy over your chicken fried pork cutlets, ideally along with mashed potatoes and the vegetable of your choice.


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