French Cooking

I got a wild hair and decided to try something different for breakfast. It takes a little planning, as all good things do. We are trying to clean out the freezer, and the usual breakfast was getting a bit hum drum. The Mrs is always up for a weirdo idea when it comes to food, and I am just the weirdo to provide it.

Last fall, I bagged a couple of wild turkeys, and after getting them in the freezer, decided to try a new way of preparing them. The traditional means of cooking turkey seemed like overkill. Wild turkeys really don’t have a lot of meat on them, mostly just breasts. And they are a bit more delicate than the frankenbirds we get from the store.

Back when we watched TV, the Food Network was a mainstay of our viewing pleasure. It was during this time that I saw a cooking technique called Sous Vide. A French term meaning under vacuum, and I have no idea how you pronounce the words. From me, it sounds like I am calling pigs, but with my inside voice. All that aside, it gives you the ability to cook things to a precise temperature, and hold it there. Basically ensuring that the food never will get over done.

I decided, for the turkeys, we go French. Went to Amazon and found a relatively cheap temperature controller for sous vide cooking. You also need a crock pot and a zip top plastic bag. In a nutshell, you plug the crock pot into the sous vide device and set the temperature to your preferred doneness of the meat you are cooking. For turkey, it was 145 degrees. Put your meat and seasoning in the bag and get all the air out of it. Put the bag in the crock pot and add water until the bag is fully covered. You might have to put a weight on the bag to keep it under water. Put the probe in the crock pot, put the lid on and plug in the sous vide device. It will chug along until it gets to the temperature you set and will keep it there. 3 hours for the turkey breasts and they were perfect.

So, my wild hair, weirdo idea for helping clean out the freezer and have a new kind of breakfast was…. wait for it….
Pork Chops.
Yup, pork chops. For breakfast. Genius, right? No? Well who asked you! The Mrs raised an eyebrow but decided not to fight it. She is part French, she tells me, so we ended up having pork chops and eggs with hash browns for breakfast. It was delicious and here’s how we did it.

Sous Vide Chops


Our chops were frozen, so thaw and brine the pork at 40 degrees. We also cut the bone and most of the fat off the chops. Use those things for soup or beans or such. You know about brining, right? No? Pay attention. Pork and chicken should always be brined. It improves the flavor and they end up juicy and tender, more so than un-brined meat.
A brine consist of salt, whatever seasoning you want to add and water. A couple tablespoons of salt, we always add paprika and cayenne, but you can add whatever you like. Make sure you brine at 40 degrees. The osmosis action of the salt will not work well below 40 degrees. For pork chops you can brine for as little as a couple hours. We ended up brining overnight; you can be flexible and not screw things up.

Once the chops were brined, we rinsed them off, browned them in a little olive oil, and put them in the zip top plastic bags along with black pepper, cayenne, paprika and little bit of garlic salt. Set the temperature to 144 degrees, medium rare for pork chops, and turned on the sous vide device. The device make an audible click every time it turns on or off, which can drive you nuts, depending on how tightly wound you are, so we put the whole deal in another room. No need to aggravate the twitch in my left eye.

Normally, pork chops only need a couple of hours to get done. Since this meal was slated for breakfast, we started it at 7pm, and let it go all night. Crazy, you’re thinking. Maybe, but it had no ill affect in the meat. We got up early, as always, and the Mrs made the hash browns, eggs and toast. If you are wondering, Mr Toaster decided to under-do the toast and got a backhand for its troubles.

The plating order was, hash browns, pork chop on top of that and eggs on top of that. Not quite brown toast on the side. Chopped raw white onion and jalapenos are nice sprinkled on top. And make dang sure you know on which side she put the ketchup. You don’t need the disaster of grabbing the wrong condiment to ruin the whole meal.
It was darn good, if not just a little strange. The meat was tender and juicy. I liked it, the Mrs said it was fine. In the parlance of our people, not what one strives for. Who can tell with the French? She loves stomach and eye lids and such, which is Tripe, for breakfast, but pork chops are beyond the pale? C’est la vie (French for “That’s Life”)