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March 28th, 2010:

A Lion in the Kitchen, Meats Edition: Pork-A-Plenty

pork chop-noodle skillet

ChopPlated2A Lion in the Kitchen is a 1965 Lions club recipe compilation. I don’t know if there were other volumes, but this one focuses on meat, and boy, are there a lot of meat dishes included. Wild game, beef roasts, sandwiches, stews, grill preparations, and even a few silly recipes (such as “How to Cook a Husband”), all adding up to a lot of calories and cholesterol. “This is a man-sized PorkAPlenty3dish, the kind males go for,” say the notes to one recipe, one of the innumerable ground-meat casseroles included — though it could be said of nearly anything in the book.

The titles make for entertaining reading. Squirrel supreme, Hoosier beef casserole, tuna mound, green turtle steak saute, “my wife is visiting her mother PorkChopsInPancasserole.”¬† Goofy little cartoons dot the pages, and unappetizing black and white photos mark the chapter introductions. One of the best parts of this book is that a previous owner left little recipe clippings between many of the pages, and also wrote little comments. He or she seems to have been very interested in beef roasts and casseroles.

ChopsBrowningIt took me a while to settle on something to try. I didn’t want to make beef or chicken again, but I also didn’t want organ meats. Scott avoids shrimp to keep from exacerbating his gout. I didn’t want to make anything that called for canned soup or powdered soup mix, which constraint itself ruled out a pretty large proportion of the recipes. I also didn’t want to buy several pounds of roast, or Ingredients2try anything with unfindable or unexplained ingredients, such as “1 8-oz can of Arturo sauce.” But eventually I settled on a pork chop dish that featured Roquefort cheese in a cream sauce — not exactly lean, but at least straightforward to prepare.

I began by seasoning four pork chops with salt and pepper and browning them on both sides in AddedCreamNCheesesome canola oil, about 15 minutes per side; while they cooked, I chopped up collard greens and garlic for a side dish, started water boiling for noodles, and chopped up a wedge of Roquefort cheese. When the pork chops had browned well on both sides, I poured in a cup of heavy cream and added the cheese; I then covered the pan and let the cream and cheese cook with the CreamSauceCookingpork chops. In the meantime I cooked egg noodles and made the collard greens. The cheese and chops cooked together for about 15 minutes. I topped noodles with a pork chop and cheese sauce, with the collard greens on the side.

The pork chops tasted great. I thought they were just a slight bit overcooked; probably I should PigArthave cut a couple of minutes from each phase of cooking, since today’s pork cuts have less fat than those available in the 1960s. But they were tasty, and the sauce brought together the noodles and the pork very well.

Verdict: Success. I doubt I’ll be using this cookbook again very soon, but tonight’s dinner was great.