October 13, 2008
Pan Fried Pork Chops
Squash, Gruyere and Onion Panade
Arugula and Baby Romaine with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding
with Whipped Cream
For this week's Sunday Supper (actually Monday supper, if you want to be technical about it) we tried some pork chops from Da Le Ranch, the new meat vendor at the Little Italy Farmers' market. The chops were nice and thick and looked promising, but they cooked up a little dry even though they weren't overdone. I think they could really benefit from brining - so maybe we'll try that next time.
For the panade, I took elements of three or four different recipes and combined them to make something that was probably more of a bread pudding than a panade. A squash and bread gratin, if you will. This was a hit and I was so relieved. I've flubbed on similar dishes in the past, so I had my concerns. We rounded out the main course with a simple green salad. There was no fancy starter this time, we munched on some tortilla chips and lemon cilantro hummus I really like from Fresh and Easy. (It's also great with cucumber slices.)
The chocolate pudding was a moderate success. James really enjoyed it - I thought it was just a little too intense. Maybe I just wanted it to be pot de creme, or mousse, and it wasn't. One thing it did have going for it though - it was incredibly quick and easy.
**Update** - I learned this morning (ahem) that the chocolate pudding improved overnight. Something about the flavor seems to have mellowed and deepened a bit, and it has that creamy roundness that was missing last night. I am happy to say I can now wholeheartedly recommend it. In fact, I'm craving some right now.
Here are the recipes:
Squash, Gruyere and Onion Panade
1 small butternut squash
1 acorn squash
1 medium-large onion
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of of chicken stock
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
8 cups of bread, cut in one inch cubes (enough to fill your pan)
1/2 cup of lowfat milk
Two Tablespoons of whipping cream
1/2 cup chicken stock, plus more
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of rubbed dried sage - depending on how potent it is (err on the side of less)
generous pinch of cayenne pepper or red chile powder
sea salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cut the butternut squash and acorn squash in half, and scoop out seeds. Place on parchment lined sheet pan and bake until it's easily pierced by a sharp knife, about 30-40 mins. Allow to cool slightly, scoop out flesh and cut into half inch pieces.
Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 300 degrees, until firm and crisp, about 10 mins. Place in a large bowl.
Trim off the ends, cut the onions in half from root end to tip and slice thinly. Slice the garlic cloves as thinly as possible. Saute the onion and garlic in chicken stock over medium low heat, until the onions have softened and the liquid has evaporated from the pan, stirring often to prevent sticking or burning. Add more stock as necessary (the onions should release their juices). Add the olive oil and cook until the onions become very soft and transluscent.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and butter a large baking pan or casserole. Whisk eggs, milk and cream together. Whisk in sage, cayenne, chicken stock and about half a teaspoon of salt. Add a few grinds of pepper and pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Toss lightly with your hands to soak the bread evenly. Add the squash, onions, and about half of the cheese and toss again. Add a little more broth if it seems dry.
Heap the bread mixture into your baking dish and drizzle a little more broth over it (unless it seems really soaked) It should be thoroughly moist. Spread the remaining cheese over the top and bake at 400 degrees until browned and firm, about 30-40 mins. Serves 6-8.
Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding with Whipped Cream
adapted from this recipe in Bon Appetit
1/4 cup sugar (I used Demerara because it was what I had in the house, and it worked fine - but the original recipe called for white. I'm pretty sure you could also use light brown sugar.)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups of milk
pinch of salt
4 oz (1 cup by volume) chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used Callebaut 70%)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
Set aside 5-6 ramekins for serving
Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, and gradually whisk in the milk. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Whisk in pinch of salt and remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk to blend and melt. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Pour into ramekins and chill until firm, about 3 hours.
Just before serving, whip the cream to soft peaks and add the powdered sugar - beat to medium peaks - dollop on top of the pudding in the ramekins before serving.