Honey Pistachio Pork Chops with Saffron Potatoes Au Gratin
Enjoy with: Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2006
Many times when I pair food with wine I concentrate on the how the wine smells and how it tastes in order to match or complement it with the food. Obviously that is a very important part of food and wine pairings, they have to taste great together. But what is often overlooked is where the wine is from. Think about it; the soil, the weather, the water of the wine’s appellation all has an effect on it’s taste. It’s a no-brainer that ingredients from that same region would work well with the wine. Yes that’s right I shipped in ingredients from Tuscany just for this recipe! Not. But I did study the cuisine of that area in order to match the flavors they create.
Enjoy your culinary trip to Tuscany
2 whole russet potatoes, peeled and cleaned
2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon to grease baking dish
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lowfat milk
Just a pinch of saffron
Salt/pepper, to taste
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 bone-in pork chops
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (salted)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into ½ slices, set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until the garlic has melted into the butter.
3. Add flour and whisk until combined. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk, then heavy cream. Add saffron and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes until thick.
4. Layer 1/3 potatoes in the buttered baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of the saffron cream. Continue to layer with remaining potatoes and cream.
5. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove foil and continue to cook 20 minutes. Top potatoes with grated cheese and cook until melted and oh-so-oozy delicious, about 5 minutes.
6. While potatoes are cooking, season pork chops with salt and pepper. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature. In a large non-stick skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add p0rk chops and cook 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare (if your pork chops are particularly thick, you may need more like 5-6 minutes per side).
7. Once chops are seared on both sides, add honey. Remove from heat and turn the chops in the pan to cover with honey. Top with pistachios.
You are not going to believe this but homemade ricotta is easyyyy! In the world we live the word “homemade” is daunting to many. This homemade means lightly boiling some milk and then letting it sit for a couple hours while you make everything else. Not daunting, right? And the best part; when you use that magically word “homemade” your guests will be so impressed! (It’ll be our little secret.)
Now onto something else that frightens the masses.. what wine do I serve?! dun, dun, dun. Don’t fret my pets, the wine you are going to serve at your party for appetizers is a wine that everyone loves – good ol’ Chardonnay. Patz and Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2009 packs a punch for being a $30 bottle of wine. With a refreshing structure and natural richness, it’s inviting with just the right amount of heavy body to compliment your impressive rich homemade ricotta and light, airy corn fritters. Welcome friends and family!
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, add milk, heavy cream, vinegar and salt. Place over a medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until you see curds beginning to form.
- Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Line the strainer with several layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently pour the milk mixture through the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze any excess liquid from the ricotta.
- Transfer the ricotta to a serving dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup polenta
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, reduce heat to the medium.
- Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes as the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat, switch to a wooden spoon and continue to stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides, about 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Invert a rimmed baking sheet on a countertop and cover the surface with parchment paper. Spread the polenta out with a spatula into a smooth, even layer. Cover the polenta with another sheet of parchment paper. Place another baking sheet, right side up, on top of the parchment. With 2 hands, press down evenly on the top baking sheet until the polenta is 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Remove the top baking sheet and the top layer of parchment paper. Cut the polenta into triangles (about 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide). Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add triangles to pan, a few at a time and allow to cook until golden brown and crispy, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully remove triangles from pan and lay on cooling rack to cool.