Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How to Make Perfect Breaded Pork Chops: Comfort Food from Cleo Coyle

Breading and pan frying pork chops may look like a retro comfort food, but it's actually one of the best, quick methods for sealing in juices in today's leaner cuts of pork. Read on for our favorite, foolproof recipe...

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A Note from Cleo

While pork chops may seem like an indulgence, much of today’s pork is as lean as skinless chicken (16% leaner with 27% less saturated fat than the pork produced in the early 1990s). That’s great for healthy living, but unfortunately these breeding techniques have yielded pork that is far less tasty than its predecessors. 

As any chef will tell you, fat means flavor, which is why today’s pork often cooks up dry and bland. Unless you can find heirloom pork with the kind of marbled fat that we used to enjoy, cooking up juicy chops can be a tricky endeavor. One way to give today’s leaner pork more flavor and juiciness is to marinate the meat overnight in a brine of salt, herbs, spices, and fruit juice. It’s a method that yields marvelous results, but it also takes time.

So how do you cook up savory pork chops quickly? We bread them. The breading seals in the juices during the shallow pan frying, followed by the quick oven baking. The chops are perfectly cooked, delicious, and juicy. 

Now here is our simple, foolproof method for making mouthwatering breaded pork chops...


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Cleo Coyle's
Breaded Pork Chops


4 to 6 one-inch thick pork chops (about 3 pounds)

1-½ cups unseasoned breadcrumbs or panko*

½ cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon finely ground sea salt

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk (or water)

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup (or more) of vegetable oil (double if using 2 skillets)

*Note: panko (aka Japanese-style breadcrumbs) are what you see in our photos for this recipe post. Standard breadcrumbs are a little less crunchy but just as delicious.


Step 1: First preheat your oven to 325° F.
 Prepare the breading by mixing unseasoned breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, oregano, cumin, and salt in a pie or cake pan (or shallow bowl). In a second pan or shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the milk (or water). Into a third pan or shallow bowl, place the flour.

Step 2: Wash the pork chops in cool water and pat off excess moisture with paper towel. Dip chops, one at a time, in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumbs. Press firmly, making sure that the crumbs stick to the meat. 

First the flour...

Then the egg...

Finally the breadcrumbs!

(Remember to press firmly. You want
the breadcrumbs to stick to the meat.)

Step 3: Warm ½ cup of oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. When the oil is rippling, add the chops and quickly reduce the heat
Lightly brown the chops on each side for about 3 minutes, turning once. Here are a few notes for getting the best results...

* Do not overlap the chops, only fry one layer at a time.

* Do not fry the chops in oil that is too cool or you'll end up with greasy instead of crispy breading. Watch for the oil to ripple. Test the oil by dropping in a few crumbs of breading. If the breading sizzles in the oil, it's ready. (And if the oil smokes, you've gone too far the other way, reduce the heat!)

* While hot oil is what you want, if it's too hot, the chops may brown too quickly in the 3 minutes of cooking time per side. So give one test chop a peek halfway through the cooking time and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent over-browning. 

* See our photos as a guide for the correct color, golden brown...

* If making 6 chops, either use two skillets (3 chops in each skillet) OR remove the 3 finished chops from the pan and set aside. Then discard the old oil, wipe the pan with a paper towel, and add a fresh ½ cup of oil for your final 3 chops.

Step 4: Place your skillet (or 2 skillets) of chops into the preheated 325° F. oven for about 20 minutes, turning them halfway through the cooking time. 

Chops will come out golden brown with the natural juices locked inside. If making 6 chops, you can either place 2 skillets in the oven or arrange the chops as we often do in one skillet, see how we do it in the photos below...

(And into the oven...)

After 20 minutes in the oven
(turning halfway through), the chops
are ready to plate and serve.

For a free PDF of this recipe,
click here or on the image below.

Click for the Free Recipe PDF.

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Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries 

Alice and Marc in Central Park. 
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

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