I’m a big fan of bone in pork chops. I cook them often. My husband says i’ve mastered the technique. 😉 You really can’t beat cast iron, butter and pork fat – especially when it’s locally grown guinea hog fresh from your friend’s farm!
What’s a “guinea hog” you ask? No, i’m not referring to cavies or guinea PIGS, these are guinea hogs – smallish hogs, traditionally raised to be lard hogs, who prefer to range and graze on pasture vs sit at a feeder all day. They can be truly pastured pigs, preferring to graze than root about like other pigs. We plan on raising them ourselves, but in the meantime are happy to try some meat from our friends at Springbank Farm in Lebanon. (We loved the meat so much we’re already planning on trading a breeding pair of rabbits for a weaner pig to raise to butcher ourselves! If we enjoy keeping a pig well enough, we’ll invest in a breeding pair.) Here’s Andy patting a very friendly Guinea Hog boar up north a year or so ago. They’re known to be friendlier and more ‘tame’ than some of the other (massive) commercially grown hogs.
Guinea Hogs are smaller than most commercially grown hogs, which means the cuts of meat are smaller. If we had been responsible folk, we would have eaten a smaller amount of meat and saved the rest for another day – but seriously it was so delicious so we ate them all! Good thing i have a lot of chores to do or i’d be turning to a tubby farm wife quick as can be! Remember that i said Guinea Hogs were classically “lard hogs” which means they can be QUITE fatty if you overfeed them. Another reason to pasture! If you’ve got a great pasture with a good mix of legumes and grass, aka plenty of protein and supplement with some local nuts and butcher offal – you’ve got yourself a delicious and healthy, not too fat Guinea Hog. The fat on these chops was just perfect, though my friend did say they may have overfed them.
Pan Seared Pork Chops with a De-glazed Gravy
- Pork Chops: bone in, medium thickness (not too skinny!)
- Cornmeal coating: 1 part cornmeal, 1/2 part flour or masa, salt pepper and any herbs you may like
Salt and pepper the chops. Heat your cast iron pan to medium. My stove is super hot and always overheats the center of my pan so i have to do some creative flipping. Melt a large pat of butter in the pan and place the first chop in your cornmeal mixture. Coat on all sides (including the edges). Repeat for all chops and lay in the hot pan. Sear one side until the top shows blood and juices. Be careful with your pan temp so that you don’t burn the meat! Flip chops (really scrape that pan with a metal spatula to keep the cornmeal coating from sticking the the pan – you may need to re-grease the pan under the chop before placing back down) and cook until the meat along the bones is just slightly pink and juices run clear. Time will depend on how thick and/or large your chops are. You CAN serve pork a little rare, but be sure the thickest part of the chop reaches at least 140 degrees.
Remove the meat from the pan and set aside somewhere warm to stay a nice temperature. Toss some fresh or roasted garlic into the pan along with perhaps half a leek diced up very finely. I just used roasted garlic. Pour in just enough stock (chicken, pork or beef) to almost cover the bottom of the pan. Scrape well with a metal spatula and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce has thickened a bit. Plate the chops with some steamed broccoli and maybe mashed or baked potatoes and drizzle all with the gravy. I guarantee fist bumps and yummy noises.
Right? Delicious! I can’t wait to serve up some pork grown right on this farm. In the meantime, we’re expecting half a locally grown hog to land in our freezer in about 2 weeks. I’m sure i’ll be posting more delicious pork recipes – though they may not beat this scrumptious Guinea Hog!
How do you best like your pork – stir fry? On the grill? Slow cooked or pan seared?