Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Month: August 2018

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup

Long weekends are the perfect time for a scrumptious yet leisurely brunch. And it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love a plate of light, fluffy pancakes!

We have an odd quirk in our family when it comes to pancakes. This is one place we say hold the butter and instead we grab the peanut butter. There is something wonderful about the nuttiness of peanut butter spread on top of steaming hot buttermilk breakfast cakes. The only thing better would be some of that same creamy goodness baked inside!

Pancakes are really so easy to make and don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. For Peanut Butter Pancakes, just take a basic pancake recipe made with buttermilk, eggs, baking powder and baking soda with a dash of salt and a touch of sugar. Whisk in creamy peanut butter and you’re good to go!

For the ultimate fluffiness, let the pancake batter rest about 10 to 15 minutes. Then a few minutes on a hot griddle and the pancakes are golden brown, ready for another smear of peanut butter on top with a drizzle of hot maple syrup.

And for fun – try chocolate scented maple syrup! Take pure chocolate extract – the same one we use in our Chocolate Bread Pudding. Then simply add a splash to real maple syrup. It brings a subtle note of sweet chocolate to this classic breakfast topping. Now you’ve got a luscious breakfast syrup ideal for pairing with Peanut Butter Pancakes! (Thank you Nielsen-Massey for this decadent extract!)

Grab your whisk, get out the griddle – breakfast will be ready in a jiffy!

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup

2 cups flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups buttermilk

2 extra-large eggs

½ cup creamy peanut butter, extra for serving

¼ cup vegetable oil

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and sugar.

Combine the buttermilk with the eggs, peanut butter and vegetable oil, whisking until smooth.

Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. The batter will be slightly thick. It’s okay if the batter is somewhat lumpy. Just don’t over mix or the pancakes will be tough. Let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Heat an electric griddle to 350-degrees or medium heat if you’re using a stovetop griddle. (If you’re using a surface that is not non-stick, spray lightly with a cooking spray.) The griddle is hot and ready to cook pancakes when a drop of water “dances” across the surface. For each pancake, scoop about ¼ cup of batter onto the griddle. Leave enough room for the pancakes to expand and for easy flipping.

Cook for about 4 minutes or until the bottoms of the pancakes are golden brown and the tops are somewhat set. Flip the pancakes and continue cooking until the underside is golden and the pancakes are cooked through – about 3 to 4 minutes.

You can refrigerate any unused batter for 2 to 3 days, thin with additional buttermilk if needed. You can also freeze cooked pancakes and reheat them in a toaster. Let them cool completely then layer parchment paper between each pancake before freezing.

Makes about 10 to 12 pancakes

Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup

2 cups pure maple syrup

2 to 4 teaspoons chocolate extract

Stir the maple syrup together with the chocolate extract. Start with 2 teaspoons then add more if needed to suit your taste. Warm in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Refrigerate any unused syrup.

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 31, 2018
: 10 to 12 pancakes

There is something wonderful about the nuttiness of peanut butter smeared on top of steaming hot buttermilk breakfast cakes. The only thing better is some of that same creamy goodness baked inside!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the Peanut Butter Pancakes:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter, extra for serving
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • For the Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup:
  • 2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons pure chocolate extract
Directions
  • Step 1 For the Peanut Butter Pancakes:
  • Step 2 In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt and sugar.
  • Step 3 Combine the buttermilk with the eggs, peanut butter and vegetable oil, whisking until smooth.
  • Step 4 Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. The batter will be slightly thick. It’s okay if the batter is somewhat lumpy – don’t over mix or the pancakes will be tough. Let the batter rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 5 Heat an electric griddle to 350-degrees or medium heat if you’re using a stovetop griddle. (If you’re using a surface that is not non-stick, spray lightly with a cooking spray.) The griddle is hot and ready when a drop of water “dances” across the surface.
  • Step 6 Scoop about ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle, leaving enough room for the pancakes to expand and flip. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the bottoms of the pancakes are golden brown and the tops are somewhat set.
  • Step 7 Flip the pancakes and continue cooking until the underside is golden and the pancakes are cooked through – about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 8 You can refrigerate any unused batter for 2 to 3 days, thin with additional buttermilk if needed. You can also freeze cooked pancakes and reheat them in a toaster. Let them cool completely then layer parchment paper between each pancake before freezing.
  • Step 9
  • Step 10 For the Chocolate Scented Maple Syrup:
  • Step 11 Stir the maple syrup together with the chocolate extract. Start with 3 teaspoons then add more to suit your taste.
  • Step 12 Warm in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 13 Refrigerate any unused syrup.
Cherry Cream Pie

Cherry Cream Pie

From the almond-laced crust through a rich, creamy layer up to the ruby red cherry topping – this is a sweet way to close out the summer months!

Taken from my Mom’s recipe files, this cherry pie does not disappoint. Start by adding almonds to your favorite pie dough, creating a nutty brown crust and the perfect foundation for this chilled dessert.

Then cover that crisp pastry with a luscious blend of fresh lemon juice, sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream highlighted with both pure vanilla and almond extracts.

Then the topping. Made from plump, red cherries hanging out in a lush cherry sauce with just a touch of Amaretto. And though it’s the end of cherry season don’t let that stop you from making this scrumptious pie any time of year. If fresh cherries aren’t available you can use frozen or canned cherries.

For the pastry crust you can use a pie dough made with all butter, all shortening or a blend of the two. I’ve included the recipe for our all butter crust with the added almonds. Just keep in mind a butter crust doesn’t hold the crimped edge shape as well as a crust with all shortening – but either way the taste is quite wonderful!

So enjoy the remaining days of summer and slice yourself a piece of this creamy fruit pie – pretty please, with cherries on top!

Cherry Cream Pie

For the pastry crust:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup sliced almonds

¾ cup unsalted butter, 1-1/2 sticks

1/3 cup cold water

Cut the butter into cubes and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Combine the flour, kosher salt, sugar and almonds in a food processor. Process for about 10 to 20 seconds or until the almonds are finally ground into the flour.

Scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter is the size of peas.

Add the cold water and process for about 10-15 seconds, or just until the water is blended into the flour and butter. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough. Turn the pastry on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper.

Using the edges of the parchment, gently pull the dough together and press into a disc.

Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a round, about 1/8” thick. Turn the dough occasionally as you roll so it doesn’t stick to the parchment. Lightly spray a 9” pie pan with a cooking spray. Place the pastry dough into the pie pan, gently easing it into the edges of the pan. Trim the excess edges leaving about 2” to 3” overhang. Fold the dough under, crimp to seal the edges and prick the side only with a fork. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Place a sheet of parchment paper inside the chilled pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in a 375-degree over for 20 minutes.

Remove the pie weights and the parchment paper. Return the pie shell to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Cover the edges if they start to darken too quickly.

For the filling:

1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounces

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2-1/2 lemons

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure almond extract

½ cup heavy cream, whipped

Blend together the condensed milk with the lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract.

Fold in the whipped cream.

Spread in the baked pie shell and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

For the cherry topping:

4 cups pitted fresh cherries

6 tablespoons sugar

1-1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon Amaretto

Using a blender or immersion blender puree 2 cups of the fresh cherries.

Mix the cherry puree with the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the remaining fresh cherries and the Amaretto. Cover the saucepan and cook for an additional 15 minutes to soften the cherries slightly.

Let the cherry topping cool completely. Spread over the chilled pie filling and refrigerate overnight until the pie has set.

Cherry Cream Pie, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 29, 2018
: One 9

Layer upon layer of flavors and textures –from the almond-laced crust through its rich, creamy layer to the ruby red cherry topping!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the pastry crust:
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, 1-1/2 sticks
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 14-ounces
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 2-1/2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream, whipped
  • For the cherry topping:
  • 4 cups pitted fresh cherries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto
Directions
  • Step 1 For the pastry crust:
  • Step 2 Cut the butter into cubes and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • Step 3 Combine the flour, kosher salt, sugar and almonds in a food processor. Process for about 10 to 20 seconds or until the almonds are finally ground into the flour.
  • Step 4 Scatter the cold butter cubes on top of the flour and pulse about 10 times, just until the butter is the size of peas.
  • Step 5 Add the cold water and process for about 10-15 seconds, or just until the water is blended into the flour and butter. Don’t over process or your pastry will be tough.
  • Step 6 Turn the pastry on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper. Using the edges of the parchment, gently pull the dough together and press into a disc. Dust a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into a round, about 1/8” thick. Turn the dough occasionally as you roll so it doesn’t stick to the parchment.
  • Step 7 Lightly spray a 9” pie pan with a cooking spray. Place the pastry dough into the pie pan, gently easing it into the edges of the pan. Trim the excess edges leaving about 2” to 3” overhang. Fold the dough under, crimp to seal the edges and prick the side only with a fork. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
  • Step 8 Place a sheet of parchment paper inside the chilled pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in a 375-degree over for 20 minutes.
  • Step 9 Remove the pie weights and the parchment paper. Return the pie shell to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Cover the edges if they start to darken too quickly.
  • Step 10 Note: An all butter crust won’t hold the crimped edge detail as well as a crust made with all shortening – use your favorite!
  • Step 11 For the filling:
  • Step 12 Blend together the condensed milk with the lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract.
  • Step 13 Fold in the whipped cream.
  • Step 14 Spread in the baked pie shell and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Step 15 For the cherry topping:
  • Step 16 Using a blender or immersion blender puree 2 cups of the fresh cherries.
  • Step 17 Mix the cherry puree with the sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until the mixture has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 18 Add the remaining fresh cherries and the Amaretto. Cover the saucepan and cook for an additional 15 minutes to soften the cherries slightly.
  • Step 19 Let the cherry topping cool completely. Spread over the chilled pie filling and refrigerate overnight until the pie has set.
Southern Fried Okra

Southern Fried Okra

There’s no way one can buy just a little okra when you are lucky enough to find gorgeous, fresh okra. And if you have fresh okra, well you have to make fried okra!

Fried okra is another Southern staple. Okra, dusted with cornmeal and flour simply seasoned with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Nothing complicated but everything wonderful.

This is a simple dish with one trick before you start. Soak the sliced okra in cold water. Soaking sliced okra in cold water for about 5 minutes helps to reduce that peculiar sliminess that is inherit to okra. From there, drain it then dust it in the cornmeal and flour before a quick fry to crispy goodness!

About slicing – both my Grandmothers sliced okra crosswise into bite size pieces, about ½” each when frying. But having spent much time with Emily and Matthew in many wonderful dining spots in Atlanta, I’ve seen this Southern treat sliced and served lengthwise.

And the beauty of this version, not only does it keep that unique pod shape, it’s also a perfect finger food, fit to serve as an appetizer. Add a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping and it’s hard to beat!

No matter how you slice it – fried okra is a classic Southern treat and for good reason!

Southern Fried Okra

1 pound fresh okra pods

2 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning the cooked okra

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for frying –the amount depends upon the size pan you use for frying

Before you start: It’s helpful to have a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan to keep an eye on the heat of the oil.

Slice the fresh okra pods lengthwise or crosswise. Place the cut okra in a large bowl and cover with cold water; soak for 5 minutes. Drain the okra in a sieve or colander.

In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the pepper.

Using a deep skillet or medium saucepan, pour in enough oil until it’s about 1/3 of the way up the side. Don’t overfill or the oil will overflow when you add the okra. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 375-degrees.

Grab one or two handfuls of the sliced okra and toss in the cornmeal and flour mixture, coating to cover all sides of the okra.

Slowly lower the coated okra into the hot oil – don’t crowd the pan. Cook until the okra is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the cooked okra to an ovenproof dish that is lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt. Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you continue cooking the remaining okra.

The temperature of the cooking oil will drop below 375-degrees after frying a batch of okra – just let the oil come back to temperature before frying anymore.

Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Southern Fried Okra, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 27, 2018
: 6 to 8

Fried okra is a Southern staple. Okra, dusted with cornmeal and flour simply seasoned with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Nothing complicated but everything wonderful.

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 pound fresh okra pods
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning the cooked okra
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for frying –the amount depends upon the size pan you use for frying
Directions
  • Step 1 Before you start: It’s helpful to have a thermometer clipped to the side of the pan to keep an eye on the heat of the oil.
  • Step 2 Slice the fresh okra pods lengthwise or crosswise. Place the cut okra in a large bowl and cover with cold water
  • Step 3 soak for 5 minutes. Drain the okra in a sieve or colander.
  • Step 4 In a large bowl whisk together the cornmeal, flour, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and the pepper.
  • Step 5 Using a deep skillet or medium saucepan, pour in enough oil until it’s about 1/3 of the way up the side. Don’t overfill or the oil will overflow when you add the okra.
  • Step 6 Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 375-degrees.
  • Step 7 Grab one or two handfuls of the sliced okra and toss in the cornmeal and flour mixture, coating to cover all sides of the okra.
  • Step 8 Slowly lower the coated okra into the hot oil – don’t crowd the pan. Cook until the okra is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a spider or slotted spoon transfer the cooked okra to an ovenproof dish that is lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt.
  • Step 9 Keep warm in a 200-degree oven while you continue cooking the remaining okra.
  • Step 10 The temperature of the cooking oil will drop below 375-degrees after frying a batch of okra – just let the oil come back to temperature before frying anymore.
  • Step 11 Serve as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.
Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I’m on a quest to enjoy as many summer vegetables as possible before the season is over. And I’m always looking for quick and easy pasta dishes for busy days. This hits the mark on both fronts – a light, fresh tomato sauce that requires no cooking. None.

There are dozens of fresh tomato sauce recipes. This is a wonderful version and it’s ridiculously simple. Grab beautiful red, ripe Roma tomatoes and brighten them with fresh basil and parsley. Throw in garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, an added touch of heat from red pepper flakes and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese.

For this garden fresh sauce, a couple of notes on ingredients. Use a high-quality extra-virgin olive oil – Olio Santo is always a great choice. The flavors are clean and pure providing a perfect compliment to the tomatoes and herbs. And you only want to use fresh herbs. Since you’re not cooking the sauce, the notes of dried herbs won’t have time to fully develop. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to find fresh basil, parsley and Roma tomatoes year-round in food markets. So don’t limit yourself to the summer solstice to enjoy this quick pasta dish.

This recipe makes about 7-cups of fresh sauce, enough for 2 pounds of pasta. If you don’t need quite this much to feed your group,  just cut the recipe in half. You can also refrigerate or freeze any leftover sauce then gently reheat it when you’re ready to dish it up.

Toss this simple sauce with your favorite curly noodle. Rotini or fusilli are great options to capture and tuck all the garden-fresh goodness in those crevices.

Dinner is on the tables in less than 20 minutes!

Fresh Tomato Sauce

4 pounds fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes – about 12 to 14, stemmed and quartered

2 cloves garlic, halved or 2 teaspoons minced

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2-1/2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste plus extra for cooking the pasta

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 packed cup fresh parsley

1-1/3 cups grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving

2 pounds Rotini or Fusilli pasta noodles

Place half of the tomatoes in a blender and puree until slightly smooth – using the blender tamper if needed – about 20 to 30 seconds.

Add the remaining tomatoes along with the garlic, olive oil, 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar.

Process until the remaining tomatoes are finely chopped and the sauce is somewhat smooth – about 1 minute – then toss in the basil and parsley.

Process until the herbs are blended into the sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Check for seasoning and if needed, add the remaining salt and brown sugar. (Brown sugar helps to smooth out the flavor and enhance the tomato flavor.)

For the pasta:

Add a handful of kosher salt to a large pot of water– the water should taste salty. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of pasta. For rotini or fusilli, usually about 7 to 10 minutes.

For 2-pounds of pasta – Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl with about 2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce.

Add 1-cup of the Parmesan cheese and toss along with the pasta and tomato sauce. Ladle in more sauce and remaining cheese to thoroughly coat the pasta. Let the pasta rest for about 5 minutes to soak up some of the sauce. Top with additional grated Parmesan cheese for serving.

Refrigerate or freeze any leftover sauce. When ready to serve, gently warm in a saucepan over medium heat. Makes about 7 cups of tomato sauce – enough for 2 pounds of pasta.

Fresh Tomato Sauce, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 24, 2018
: 6 to 8

Ridiculously simple - a light, fresh tomato sauce that requires no cooking. None.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 pounds fresh, ripe Roma tomatoes – about 12 to 14, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved or 2 teaspoons minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-1/2 to 3 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste plus extra for cooking the pasta
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 packed cup fresh parsley
  • 1-1/3 cups grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 2 pounds Rotini or Fusilli pasta noodles
Directions
  • Step 1 Place half of the tomatoes in a blender and puree until slightly smooth – using the blender tamper if needed – about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Step 2 Add the remaining tomatoes along with the garlic, olive oil, 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons of the brown sugar.
  • Step 3 Process until the remaining tomatoes are finely chopped and the sauce is somewhat smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Step 4 Toss in the basil and parsley then process until the herbs are blended into the sauce, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 Check for seasoning and if needed, add the remaining salt and brown sugar. (Brown sugar helps to smooth out the flavor and enhance the tomato flavor.)
  • Step 6 For the pasta:
  • Step 7 Add a handful of kosher salt to a large pot of water– the water should taste salty. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the type of pasta. For rotini or fusilli, usually about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 8 For 2-pounds of pasta – Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl with about 2 to 3 cups of tomato sauce. Add 1-cup of the Parmesan cheese and toss along with the pasta and tomato sauce.
  • Step 9 Ladle in more sauce and remaining cheese to thoroughly coat the pasta. Let the pasta rest for about 5 minutes to soak up some of the sauce. Top with additional grated Parmesan cheese for serving.
  • Step 10 Refrigerate or freeze any leftover sauce. When ready to serve, gently warm in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Step 11 Makes about 7 cups of tomato sauce – enough for 2 pounds of pasta.
Pickled Okra

Pickled Okra

When folks think “pickled” they tend to think of cucumber pickles. But if you’re from anywhere in the South that’s just not necessarily the case –we pickle everything! This is a classic example – slightly spicy, with just the right amount of crisp and a bite of delightful tangy brine – pickled okra is a staple in Southern pantries.

Loaded with spices and seasoning, pickling okra is an easy treat to make. And it’s a simple way to take advantage of this distinctive summer vegetable, preserving it for the cooler fall months ahead. Fresh okra pickled in a vinegar brine flavored with kosher salt, black peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard and mustard seeds plus a bit of heat from red pepper flakes.

Toss in savory bites of garlic and onion then pour over the okra pods and you’ve got pickled goodness! Even if you’ve never made any type of pickle this is easy enough for a novice. You can refrigerate the pickled okra or process the jars in a water bath to keep in your pantry for later. You can add more heat by tossing in extra red pepper flakes or if you like more garlic – well, add more garlic. Tweak to suit your taste!

Look for fresh okra, with pods about 3” to 4” in length so that they fit perfectly in a pint size jar. Large okra pods also tend to be tough so avoid them for any use. When buying canning jars, pick the wide mouth style – they are easier to work with when packing the okra inside.

Pickled okra is a fun addition to any relish plate or a slightly unconventional cheeseboard served alongside pimento cheese and cheddar biscuits. Even straight up, pickled okra brings the right tang!

Pickled Okra

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed

1 tablespoon dill seed

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon mustard seed

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced – about 1-1/2 cups

4 cups white vinegar

3-1/2 pounds whole fresh okra pods, about 3” to 4” each

Place the kosher salt, the peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard, mustard seed, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic in a large stockpot.

Add the sliced onions and the white vinegar. Bring the brine to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Pack the okra pods into five clean, sterilized pint sized jars, alternating top to bottom to fit firmly. Ladle the hot brine and spices into the jars, leaving about ¼” headspace (room to the top).

Then top each with some of the sliced onion. Wipe the top of the jars and seal with clean, sterilized lids.

Refrigerate the jars or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Let the okra age in the brine for at least 4 to 5 days before serving.

Pickled Okra, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 22, 2018
: 5 pints

Slightly spicy, with just the right amount of crisp and a bite of delightful tangy brine – pickled okra is a staple in Southern pantries.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon dill seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced – about 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 3-1/2 pounds whole fresh okra pods, about 3” to 4” each
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the kosher salt, the peppercorns, dill seed, dry mustard, mustard seed, red pepper flakes and chopped garlic in a large stockpot.
  • Step 2 Add the sliced onions and the white vinegar.
  • Step 3 Bring the brine to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4 Pack the okra pods into five clean, sterilized pint sized jars, alternating top to bottom to fit firmly.
  • Step 5 Ladle the hot brine and spices into the jars, leaving about ¼” headspace (room to the top).
  • Step 6 Then top each with some of the sliced onion. Wipe the top of the jars and seal with clean, sterilized lids.
  • Step 7 Refrigerate the jars or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturers directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
  • Step 8 Let the okra age in the brine for at least 4 to 5 days before serving.
Stewed Summer Squash

Stewed Summer Squash

There’s something that feels somewhat Southern and comforting about stewed summer squash. It’s a simple dish with delicate flavors – and with each bite it captures everything wonderful about this sunny yellow vegetable.

Summer squash reminds me of my Grandmother, Tassie Mae. Every summer both my grandmothers raised this gorgeous yellow crookneck squash but Tassie Mae grew bushel baskets of this tender vegetable. The first time I planted this common member of the gourd family I had no idea how prolific this plant could be. I gave squash to friends and family then packed a freezer full of this yellow beauty.

This is one of the simplest ways to prepare summer squash. Sautéed sweet onion with slices of yellow squash, simmered in stock then finished with a touch of cream.

It’s an easy recipe and can be made several days in advance. And though you seldom find produce sold in bushel baskets, grab enough for now and freeze some summer for later!

Stewed Summer Squash

4 tablespoons butter

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin – about 2-1/2 cups

2 pounds yellow summer squash, sliced about ¼” thick

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon sugar

¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

¼ cup cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the sliced onions and cook until tender, translucent and cooked down, about 15 minutes.

Add the sliced squash along with the kosher salt, sugar, black pepper and stock.

Cover the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Drain the liquid from the squash.

Return the pan to the heat, stir in the cream and cook for a few minutes just to warm through.

Stewed Summer Squash, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 20, 2018
: 6 to 8

This is one of the simplest ways to prepare summer squash. Sautéed sweet onion with slices of yellow squash simmered in stock then finished with a touch of cream.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thin – about 2-1/2 cups
  • 2 pounds yellow summer squash, sliced about ¼” thick
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • ¼ cup cream
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Step 2 Toss in the sliced onions and cook until tender, translucent and cooked down, about 15 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the sliced squash along with the kosher salt, sugar, black pepper and stock. Cover the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
  • Step 4 Drain the liquid from the squash.
  • Step 5 Return the pan to the heat, stir in the cream and cook for a few minutes just to warm through.
Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise

Vichyssoise – a rich, creamy potato and leek soup – is a delicious switch from the traditional potato soup served hot. This is one soup you won’t mind getting cold.

There are disputes about the true birthplace of vichyssoise. Some claim the roots of this luscious soup belong to France, some say the United States. But many credit a French chef from the Ritz-Carlton in New York who is said to have created and served this luscious soup well chilled in the early 1900s. Regardless of the origin this classic it is worthy of adding to your recipe file.

Start with savory ingredients – sweet onion and leeks – that are sautéed in butter until tender. Add Yukon gold potatoes along with chicken stock and simmer before being pureeing into a velvety smooth base. Finish with milk and cream, chill until cold and you have one delectable soup!

Leeks are a must to capture the delicate flavor of this soup. Related to onions – leeks are technically members of the amaryllis family. The dark green leaves are tough but can be used when you’re making a stock. But for this soup only toss in the white and the very light green part of the leek. You want the vichyssoise to be almost white in color, which is also the reason white pepper is used.

For the potatoes, one of my favorites is the Yukon gold. Its slightly nutty, buttery flavor and smooth texture lends the right touch.

The potatoes, onions and leeks can be pureed in a blender but I’ve never been a fan of transferring hot liquids back and forth from a steaming stockpot to a blender and back again. My preference is an immersion blender – it works beautifully. I’ve had several through the years and my favorite is from All-Clad. Powerful, with an extended wand, it’s perfect for large or small batches. As with any immersion blender, just make sure to keep the blade submerged or you’ll spray your kitchen!

Versatile, this soup can be served as an appetizer, a side or your main entrée. And yes, you can also dish it up hot but if you’ve never tried it chilled you owe it to yourself to try it– at least once!

Vichyssoise

4 tablespoons butter

4 leeks*, about 3 pounds, mainly the white part – chopped

1 medium onion, chopped – about 1-1/2 cups

4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin

4 to 6 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon white pepper, or to taste

1 cup milk

1 cup cream

Fresh chives, chopped for garnish

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and onions.

Cook until both are tender and translucent, but not browned – about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the sliced potatoes along with 4 cups of the stock – add the additional 2 cups only if needed to almost cover the potatoes.

Cover the stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

If you added 6 cups of stock, strain off 2 cups before pureeing. You can reserve this stock and add it later if you want a thinner consistency for the soup. Remove the soup from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is very, very smooth.

Season the soup with the kosher salt and white pepper then stir in the milk and cream.

Refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled. Top with fresh chives for serving.

*Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek.

Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb.

Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.

Vichyssoise, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 17, 2018
: 6 to 8

Vichyssoise - a rich, creamy potato and leek soup - is a delicious switch from the classic potato soup served hot. This is one soup you won’t mind getting cold.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 leeks*, about 3 pounds, mainly the white part - chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped – about 1-1/2 cups
  • 4 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 to 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • Fresh chives, chopped for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and onions and cook until both are tender and translucent, but not browned – about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add the sliced potatoes along with 4 cups of the stock – add the additional 2 cups if needed to almost cover the potatoes. Cover the stockpot and cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Step 3 If you added 6 cups of stock, strain off 2 cups. You can reserve this stock and add it later if you want a thinner consistency for the soup.
  • Step 4 Remove the soup from the heat and using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is very, very smooth.
  • Step 5 Season the soup with the kosher salt and white pepper then stir in the milk and cream.
  • Step 6 Refrigerate the soup until it is well chilled.
  • Step 7 Top with fresh chives for serving.
  • Step 8 *Cleaning leeks is an important step. As the leaves push up through the ground they capture a lot of dirt along the way. To clean, cut the dark green leaves down to the light green part of the leek. Then cut an “X” about 3” to 4” from the leaves down towards the bulb. Place the leeks cut side down in a large measuring cup or bowl filled with cold water. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to let the leeks open up a bit. Rinse the leeks under cold running water to make sure all the dirt is removed.
Cherry Preserves

Cherry Preserves

Plump red cherries floating in a thick, sweet ruby syrup – what a wonderful way to preserve this last bit of the season!

There are so many methods for making jams and preserves. This recipe is similar to the one I use for strawberry preserves, capturing the whole beautiful cherry.

It’s perfect for breakfast and excellent as a dessert sauce or topping for cheese as an appetizer.

The added bonus with this recipe – it gives you some control over the thickness of the syrup. After cooking the cherries, remove them from the kettle and cook the syrup 10 minutes or a bit more if you like a thicker syrup. Just keep in mind the syrup will thicken after it is chilled. And don’t cook past 220-degrees or the preserves will be sticky.

The hardest part in making preserves is patience. As with the strawberry preserves I make, there are several stages including an overnight rest. Take the time to let the sugar fully dissolve. But this recipe is a bit forgiving.

If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves back into a kettle and heat until the sugar has melted before ladling the preserves into your jars.

If you don’t own a cherry pitter go grab one. I use Oxo’s pitter – it is a single-purpose tool worth having on hand. It’s the quickest way to get the pits out of this lovely stone fruit.

Cherry season is short but really sweet – go and capture the goodness!

Cherry Preserves

2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted – about 7 cups

4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon butter

Place the cherries in a large kettle or stockpot. Add the sugar and stir to blend together. Let the cherries and sugar set at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours.

Heat the cherries and sugar over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently to keep the sugar from scorching while it melts.

Once the sugar has dissolved add the butter and turn the heat up to medium. The addition of butter helps to minimize any foam from forming. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Let the cherries boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Using a slotted spoon remove the cherries from the syrup and transfer to a heat proof shallow dish. (A 9” x 9” baking dish works well for this.)

Bring the syrup back to a boil and continue to boil for an additional 10 minutes to thicken slightly. If you want a thicker syrup boil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 220-degrees, but not over or the syrup will be sticky. Keep in mind the syrup will also thicken as it chills.

Pour the syrup over the cherries, and allow the mixture to cool. Once cool, loosely cover and let the cherries stand at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Swirl the pan occasionally but do not stir.

If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish, as it stands overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves and any sugar back into a kettle and cook over medium until the sugar has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes. Ladle the cooked preserves into four sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover.

Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.

Cherry Preserves, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 15, 2018
: 4 half pint jars

Plump red cherries floating in a thick, sweet ruby syrup – what a wonderful to preserve the last bit of the season!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted – about 7 cups
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Directions
  • Step 1 Place the cherries in a large kettle or stockpot. Add the sugar and stir to blend together. Let the cherries and sugar set at room temperature for about 3 to 4 hours.
  • Step 2 Heat the cherries and sugar over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently to keep the sugar from scorching while it melts.
  • Step 3 Once the sugar has dissolved add the butter and turn the heat up to medium.The addition of butter helps to minimize any foam from forming. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Step 4 Let the cherries boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 5 Using a slotted spoon remove the cherries from the syrup and transfer to a heat proof shallow dish. (A 9” x 9” baking dish works well for this.)
  • Step 6 Bring the syrup back to a boil and continue to boil for an additional 10 minutes to thicken slightly. If you want a thicker syrup boil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until the temperature reaches 220-degrees, but not over or the syrup will be sticky. Keep in mind the syrup will thicken as it chills.
  • Step 7 Pour the syrup over the cherries, and allow the mixture to cool. Once cool, loosely cover and let the cherries stand at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours. Swirl the pan occasionally but do not stir.
  • Step 8 If the sugar didn’t fully dissolve while cooking it will settle on the bottom of the dish, as it stands overnight. Simply pour the cherry preserves and any sugar back into a kettle and cook over medium until the sugar has melted, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 9 Ladle the cooked preserves into four sterilized 8-ounce jars. You will have a bit extra leftover.
  • Step 10 Keep refrigerated or process in a water bath following the jar manufacturer’s directions. Ball makes wonderful canning jars and has great step-by-step guidelines to canning safely on their website.
Zucchini Pecan Bread

Zucchini Pecan Bread

Studded with toasted pecans and sweet, plump currants – fruity, spicy zucchini pecan bread is loaded with fragrance, flavor and crunch.

Zucchini bread was the bread of the 70s. It was ubiquitous – so much so that when the 70s came and went – in large part so did zucchini bread. Which was unfortunate because it is a beautiful and delicious quick bread.

Zucchini, known as a member of the squash family, is technically a fruit. And much like its cousin the yellow squash, zucchini is in large part water – about 95%. This dark green squash lends important properties to a dish – moisture, texture and their unique ability to absorb all the wonderful things surrounding them.

Acting like a sponge, zucchini pulls in the spice from the cinnamon and the floral notes of the pure vanilla extract then amplifies them both. Tiny currants provide extra pops of sweet in every bite and crunchy toasted pecans bring just the right amount of nuttiness.

Use a light touch when mixing in the flour and the ingredients added after the flour, otherwise your bread will have a tough bite. When you’re ready to bake the loaves place the pans on the lowest rack in your oven. To prevent the bread from being dry, take care to not over bake it. It’s okay if a crumb or two stick to the toothpick when you test for doneness.

As a bonus, this recipe makes two large loaves and it freezes beautifully.

Spicy and fruity, this bread is full of warmth and earthy goodness!

Zucchini Pecan Bread

4 extra-large eggs, room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3-1/2 cups flour, divided

4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, about 2 medium squash

1 cup rough chopped toasted pecans

1 cup currants

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed until the eggs are light in color and thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. On medium speed, add the sugar about ½ cup at a time blending well into the eggs. Mix in the vegetable oil.

In a separate bowl whisk together 3-1/4 cups of the flour (reserving the remaining ¼ cup) along with the baking powder, kosher salt and the cinnamon.

Using low speed, add about 1 cup of the flour at a time to the egg and sugar mixture beating just until the flour disappears.

Toss in the squash and mix in using low speed.

Toss the pecans and the currants in the remaining ¼ cup of flour .(Tossing the pecans and currants in the flour keeps them from sinking in the batter while baking.)

Using low speed stir the pecans and the currants into the batter.

Blend in the vanilla extract.

Scoop the batter into two large loaf pans (9” x 5” x 3”) that have been greased, floured, and lined with parchment paper.

Bake on the lowest rack of the oven at 350-degrees for 55 minutes or until the bread tests done – do not over bake!

Place the pans on a wire rack and cool the bread for 10 minutes. Then remove the loaves from the pans and let the bread cool completely on the wire racks.

Zucchini Pecan Bread, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 13, 2018
: 2 large loaves

Studded with toasted pecans and sweet, plump currants this fruity, spicy zucchini bread is loaded with flavor and crunch.

By:

Ingredients
  • 4 extra-large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3-1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, about 2 medium squash
  • 1 cup rough chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup currants
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Directions
  • Step 1 Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed until the eggs are light in color and thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 2 On medium speed, add the sugar about ½ cup at a time blending well into the eggs.
  • Step 3 Mix in the vegetable oil.
  • Step 4 In a separate bowl whisk together 3-1/4 cups of the flour (reserving the remaining ¼ cup) along with the baking powder, kosher salt and the cinnamon.
  • Step 5 Using low speed, add about 1 cup of the flour at a time to the egg and sugar mixture beating just until the flour disappears.
  • Step 6 Toss in the squash and mix in using low speed.
  • Step 7 Toss the pecans and the currants in the remaining ¼ cup of flour. (Tossing the pecans and currants in the flour keeps them from sinking in the batter while baking.)
  • Step 8 Using low speed stir the pecans and the currants into the batter.
  • Step 9 Blend in the vanilla extract.
  • Step 10 Scoop the batter into two large loaf pans (9” x 5” x 3”) that have been greased, floured, and lined with parchment paper.
  • Step 11 Bake on the lowest rack of  the oven at 350-degrees for 55 minutes or until the bread tests done – do not over bake!
  • Step 12 Place the pans on a wire rack and cool the bread for 10 minutes. Then remove the loaves from the pans and let the bread cool completely on the wire racks.
  • Step 13 This bread freezes beautifully.
Corn and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

Corn and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

Bring your appetite for this feast! Thick, two-rib pork chops with a delectable savory corn and apple stuffing bursting from the top!

Growing up, Sundays at our house meant Mom was making something special for dinner. Our routine was constant – even when we were staying with my Grandparents – church on Sunday morning followed by a feast for lunch or an early dinner. This dish would fit right into that routine!

Start with double rib pork chops – yes, two ribs! You might need to have your butcher cut these for you. If you can’t find them just buy the thickest chops available, preferably bone-in for added flavor.

Then the chops are stuffed with sautéed corn, crisp apples, sweet onion and fresh parsley combined with seasoned breadcrumbs, fresh egg and cream. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper plus a touch of poultry seasoning.

I always brine the meat when I make pork or poultry. It’s an extra step but simple enough to do and worth the time. Brining infuses flavors you just can’t get with a sprinkling of salt and pepper on the outside. The added bonus, it helps keep your meat from drying out while it cooks. The brine recipe is a basic one and will work for up to 4-pounds of pork or poultry. You can substitute rosemary for other herbs or add to it. You can also add a cup of cold apple juice or bourbon as well.

Serve these beautiful chops on top of a bed of wild rice and top with our Apple Brandy Sauce. This meal could easily slide into the fall or even holiday season – it’s just around the corner!

Corn and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops

Brine solution:

¼ cup kosher salt

¼ cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

2 teaspoons whole juniper berries, optional

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

4 cups water

1 cup ice cubes

Combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and rosemary in a saucepan with the 4 cups of water. Warm over medium heat, stirring just until the kosher salt and brown sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the ice cubes. Allow the brine to cool completely.

Place the pork chops in a large storage bag or container. (If you’re using a storage bag, set it inside a baking dish in the event it leaks – trust me on this!) Pour the brine over the pork chops and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no more than 24 hours.This makes enough brine solution for 3 to 4 pounds of pork or poultry.

Remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse in cold water. Pat the pork chops dry and season with ½ teaspoon of the freshly cracked pepper only – no salt! Refrigerate the chops while you prepare the filling.

For the pork chops and stuffing:

4 two-rib pork chops

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup chopped Braeburn apple, or your favorite baking apple – about 1 apple

2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup cream

1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chicken stock

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the corn, chopped apple, sweet onion, parsley, kosher salt and pepper. Cook until the apples and onion are soft and tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl combine the egg, cream, breadcrumbs and poultry seasoning. The breadcrumbs will soak up the liquid.

Toss in the corn and apple mixture then work into the breadcrumbs using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon.

Place the pork chops bone side down so that they are standing up vertically. Using a sharp knife cut a pocket about 3” to 4” across and about 3” into the chop. Stuff each pork chop with ¼ of the corn and apple mixture, pushing down into the chop to fill the pocket.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the chops in the hot oil, searing until the meat is browned on both side.

Set the pork chops bone side down, stuffing side up (so that the chops are standing up vertically) in a large, deep baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray.

Pour the chicken stock in the pan and cover with a lid or foil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat registers 145-degrees. Take the lid or foil off the top of the pan and cook for an additional 5 to10 minutes to lightly brown the top of the stuffing.

Let the pork chops rest, covered for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into them. If you’re serving with Apple Brandy Sauce, pour the stock and drippings into a fat separator.

Apple Brandy Sauce

3 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons flour

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

3 cups chicken stock

4 tablespoons applesauce or apple juice

2 tablespoons Calvados apple brandy

½ teaspoon sugar

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, kosher salt and the black pepper whisking into the butter until smooth. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.

Pour in the stock and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes whisking occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly.

Stir in the applesauce or apple juice, the brandy and the sugar. Cook for an additional five minutes. As soon as the pork chops are done, pour the drippings into a fat separator to pull off any fat that has cooked off the pork. Then add the drippings to the sauce and whisk to blend.

Serve warm of Corn and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops!

Corn and Apple Stuffed Pork Chops, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

August 10, 2018
: 4 large servings

Bring your appetite for this feast! Thick, two-rib pork chops with a delectable savory corn and apple stuffing bursting from the top!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the brine solution:
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons whole juniper berries, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • For the pork chops and stuffing:
  • 4 two-rib pork chops
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped Braeburn apple, or your favorite baking apple – about 1 apple
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • For the apple brandy sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons applesauce or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados apple brandy
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
Directions
  • Step 1 For the brine solution:
  • Step 2 Combine the kosher salt, brown sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and rosemary in a saucepan with the 4 cups of water.
  • Step 3 Warm over medium heat, stirring just until the kosher salt and brown sugar are completely dissolved.
  • Step 4 Remove from the heat and add the ice cubes. Allow the brine to cool completely.
  • Step 5 Place the pork chops in a large storage bag or container. (If you’re using a storage bag, set it inside a baking dish in the event it leaks – trust me on this!) Pour the brine over the pork chops and refrigerate at least 8 hours but no more than 24 hours. This makes enough brine solution for 3 to 4 pounds of pork or poultry.
  • Step 6 Remove the pork chops from the brine and rinse in cold water. Pat the pork chops dry and season with ½ teaspoon of the freshly cracked pepper only – no salt!
  • Step 7 Refrigerate the chops while you prepare the filling.
  • Step 8 For the pork chops and stuffing:
  • Step 9 Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the corn, chopped apple, sweet onion, parsley, kosher salt and pepper.
  • Step 10 Cook until the apples and onion are soft and tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  • Step 11 In a large mixing bowl combine the egg, cream, breadcrumbs and poultry seasoning. The breadcrumbs will soak up the liquid.
  • Step 12 Toss in the corn and apple mixture then work into the breadcrumbs using your hands or a sturdy wooden spoon.
  • Step 13 Place the pork chops bone side down so that they are standing up vertically. Using a sharp knife cut a pocket about 3” to 4” across and about 3” into the chop.
  • Step 14
  • Step 15 Stuff each pork chop with ¼ of the corn and apple mixture, pushing down into the chop to fill the pocket.
  • Step 16 Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place the chops in the hot oil, searing until the meat is browned on both side, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 17 Set the pork chops bone side down, stuffing side up (so that the chops are standing up vertically) in a large, deep baking pan that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray.
  • Step 18 Pour the chicken stock in the pan and cover with a lid or foil. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat registers 145-degrees.
  • Step 19 Take the lid or foil off the top of the pan and cook for an additional 5 to10 minutes to lightly brown the top of the stuffing.
  • Step 20 Let the pork chops rest, covered for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into them. If you’re serving with Apple Brandy Sauce, pour the stock and drippings into a fat separator.
  • Step 21 For the apple brandy sauce:
  • Step 22 In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Step 23 Add the flour, kosher salt and the black pepper whisking into the butter until smooth. Cook for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Step 24 Pour in the stock and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Continue cooking for about 15 minutes whisking occasionally until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • Step 25 Stir in the applesauce or apple juice, the brandy and the sugar. Cook for an additional five minutes.
  • Step 26 As soon as the pork chops are done, pour the drippings into a fat separator to pull off any fat that has cooked off the pork. Then add the drippings to the sauce and whisk to blend.