Shop Talk About Chops

Describing some novel and useful methods of cooking and serving a favorite meat dish


Shop Talk About Chops

Describing some novel and useful methods of cooking and serving a favorite meat dish


Shop Talk About Chops

Describing some novel and useful methods of cooking and serving a favorite meat dish


CHOPS and cutlets cannot, on the whole, be said to lack appreciation; served in their simplest and most familiar forms they are steady favorites in the average household, the only frequent criticism against them being on the score of price. There are, however, chops and chops—just as there is variety in steaks and roasts; chops which are taken from the prime cuts naturally correspond in price to the choicer roasts. But there are less expensive cuts which may commend themselves quite strongly and permit you to make wider use of the chop family.

This broader usefulness is made possible by model methods of cooking and serving chops, as well as by utilizing those from the less familiar cuts of meat. And still further variety is added in the accessories you serve with the meat. Besides the standard methods of cooking them, I am going to suggest some favorite departures from the routine broiling and frying, and also pleasant ways of dressing up the dish to make it worthy of any occasion.

Aristocrats of the Clan

T AMB chops have long been the aristocrats of their clan. The trim little rib chop has the best appearance, especially when it is nicely Frenched—the end of the bone trimmed cleanly, to be adorned after the chop has been cooked, with a tiny white chop frill. If you do not buy these ready cut by the package, you can fashion them very easily yourself.

The larger and heavier loin chop is also a useful one.

Pork chops offer similar variety—the well-formed loin chop in the lead, but humbler substitutes offering themselves. On a recent occasion when I was buying a butt of pork for roasting, my butcher cut two or three slices from it which he said he would sell as chops— quite a good buy, I should say, as the butt is a cut which is usually sold very reasonably and which is solid meat.

Veal chops might be more widely known and appreciated than they are. When prepared with equal care, they quite rival the cutlet.

Broiled and Pan-Broiled Chops

THE chop which is broiled to perfection is the peer of any. True broiling exposes the surface of the meat directly to the flame or heat, searing that surface rapidly; the chops are turned immediately, the other side seared, and thus the juices are effectually sealed in. Cooking is continued, first on one side, then on the other until the chops are cooked through to the degree desired. One must be careful never to thrust a fork into the lean meat to turn it, because that would give an outlet for the precious juice. This general method is followed, no matter what the type of range or broiler used

The original broiling was done over hot coals or embers, the meat being placed in a simple toaster-like broiling iron made of bars of heavy wire. The advent of the gas and electric broiling oven introduced heat from above instead of below, the meat being placed on a rack in a shallow pan which catches the juice and fat. A handy type of broiler for use on the top of the stove catches all drip in a series of little runways and is a very convenient and practical utensil.

The broiler, whatever its type, is first heated, then rubbed with fat so that the meat will not stick to it.

For pan broiling the regulation broiling rules are adopted. The pan is made very hot and rubbed over with a piece of fat or lightly greased; the chops are put in, seared rapidly, turned and seared on the other side. The excess fat should be poured out of the pan at intervals to maintain broiling procedure, instead of the sauteing that results from cooking in a continually greased pan.

Oven Cooked Chops

ANOTHER delicious method of cooking chops is L~\. really a baking or roasting; it is more often resorted to when the chops are stuffed or otherwise elaborated. A hot pan and hot fat should be ready to receive them and they will need to be turned during the cooking process. Sometimes the chops will be partially cooked by the broiling method, then treated in some particular fashion and finished in the oven. Such dishes will require an oven temperature averaging 400 deg.

Fahr.—what we describe as a hot oven.

If you have fathomed the delights of plank cookery you will recognize its possibilities where chops and cutlets are concerned. The plank offers the most charming one-dish service, especially if you have mastered the simple use of the pastry tube, and if you have an eye for the color scheme you can effect with artistically arranged vegetables. I find as a rule that the easiest method for planking chops is to first panbroil them well on one side, then arrange on the plank with the cooked side down, after which, the vegetables and garnishes should be added and the cooking continued to completion.

French Chops on Potato Mound

Ä SIMPLE and attractive service for broiled rib chops is achieved by putting a mound of riced or mashed potatoes in the centre of your platter and laying the chops upon it, each one wearing a little white frill around the end of the bone. A border of green peas, or of peas and finely diced buttered carrots arranged in alternate spoonfuls, makes a colorful and easily served dish. Or for variety arrange a cluster of potato cones in the centre with the chops around them and garnish with cress or peppergrass.

Breaded Chops—Lamb or Veal

r"PHE wise housekeeper keeps on hand a covered jar of very fine dry crumbs for such purposes as coating chops or making scallops. A cutlet or chop that is to be breaded should not, in my opinion, be cut too thick. Beat an egg very slightly, dilute with a tablespoonful of water; dip each chop or neat piece of cutlet in the fine crumbs to give a dry surface to hold the egg; dip in the egg, then coat well in the crumbs, which, by the way, should be seasoned with salt and pepper. Deep frying is an excellent method for cooking these coated chops. Arrange them in a frying basket, lower into deep hot fat, and when cooked, drain on crumpled absorbent paper.

Another method is to heat a shallow roasting-pan and plenty of dripping in the oven, put in the breaded chops— resting them on a trivet if possible— and cook in a hot oven, turning the chops to brown them evenly. If the pan is large enough, you can finish sweet potatoes, as suggested above, right in the pan with the chops; or use small, parboiled white potatoes, finishing them in the fat in the pan, when they are known as franconia potatoes.

Stuffed Chops

TA MB, veal and pork chops all lend ^ themselves quite nicely to being stuffed and cooked in the oven. Select large chops and have them a good inch in thickness. With a sharp knife slit the chop at half its depth, making a cavity about two inches long.

For the lamb chops, prepare this stuffing:

cupful bread crumbs 2 tablespoonfuls melted butter, or bacon dripping 2 tablespoonfuls hot milk Salt, pepper, chopped parsley to season.

If desired, add a little chopped onion that has been sauted in a little bacon fat.

For veal chops the same stuffing may be used with or without the onion; or for the special occasion, stuff with chestnuts which have been shelled, blanched, boiled until tender in salted water, drained, mashed and moistened with a little cream. Add salt to taste.

The pork chops may be stuffed with the force-meat suggested for the lamb, the chopped onion being most welcome in this instance; just a suspicion of powdered sage may be added with the other seasonings. Bake in a hot oven with plenty of dripping, allowing about an hour for cooking.

Rolled Chops

TA MB, veal or pork chops may be treated in this way: Trim the meat

cleanly from the bone and roll the tapering “tail end” of the chop closely around the wide part—or if it is long, roll this narrow piece until it meets the heavy lean end, so as to have a round shape when skewered in place. Fasten a narrow strip of fat bacon around each “noisette” and broil as usual. Serve each on a round of toast somewhat larger than a noisette, with a colorful ring of pimento around the edge of the toast.

To Serve With Chops

RED currant jelly is a classical accompaniment for lamb chops just as it is for the roast of lamb. It is also delicious with veal.

Mint jelly is perfection with lamb. Have you thought of making it with commercial pectin as a base, adding a little green color paste or liquid?

Apple slices act as an interesting garnish to pork chops, as well as replace the more usual apple sauce in its practical usefulness. Select tart cooking-apples with red skins, core them without peeling and cut in half-inch slices. Saute these until tender and arrange one on each pork chop or place them around the dish as a border.

Apple sauce should be made early and thoroughly chilled, to do full justice to the pork chops.

Prunes, large meaty ones which have been soaked and then cooked until tender, are good with lamb or pork.

Sweet potatoes have a well declared affinity for chops of almost any kind. Parboil the potatoes in salted water, split them lengthwise and saute them or finish in a dripping pan in the oven, basting well with fat.