Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baked Pork Cutlets–The Conflicted Chef

My grandmother made some very yummy fried pork chops. I think sometimes she cooked them with the leftover fat from the bacon she cooked that morning. Um, yes, it was melt in your mouth good and brought a smile to my face. And every once in awhile I’ll fry up some bacon just so my house has that decadent smell. I’ll even use the fat in my cooking.  But most days I think about cholesterol and calories and I steer away from that sort of thing. My motto “all things are fine in moderation” rings through my head. Which means I can’t cook with bacon fat every day, no matter how I love it.

So fried pork chop cravings are soothed with a healthier spin most nights. First thing I do is toast some whole wheat bread and then pulse them in the food processor until they are fine crumbs. This makes a great breading for the pork. Next, I add some spices to liven up the mixture a bit. Salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, etc. are all good seasonings to add. You know what you and your family likes best so pick according to taste.  I sprinkle with a little bit of oil, this will help the crumbs stick to the pork and get crispy.


I like to buy a pork tenderloin, all fat trimmed, and slice into inch think pieces. Then, if you pat them with a little cornstarch, instead of flour, you’ll create a nice crispy coating. The cornstarch absorbs the moisture from the pork and the starch granules will swell during cooking which keeps you from having soggy breading. Next dip in some egg white, then your spiced bread crumb mixture and place on a wire cooling rack that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven. The result is crispy, healthier pork chops then the fried version.


Here’s the base recipe that you can tweak with your own spices. This time my spice of choice was some sweet paprika my parent’s brought back from Hungry:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon  sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Slice pork into 1 inch slices
  3. Mix breadcrumbs, paprika, pepper and salt in a shallow dish. Drizzle with oil and mash with a fork until the oil is thoroughly incorporated. Beat egg white with a fork in another shallow dish. Sprinkle cornstarch over the pork slices and pat to coat evenly on both sides. Dip the pork into the egg, then press into the breading mixture until evenly coated on both sides.
  4. Place the pork on the sprayed wire rack, which is placed on a cookie sheet. Bake until just barely pink in the center and an instant-read thermometer registers 145°F, 14 to 16 minutes


My kids loved this version of “fried” pork chops. I received 5 smiles for this recipe (which includes my own). And we were so healthy with dinner that I think this weekend we deserve some bacon. Maybe some bacon cheddar cornbread… If I do I’ll be sure to share. We all deserve a little bacon in our lives!

Happy Cooking!


Jennette Marie Powell said...

Mmm, homemade Shake n' Bake! I bet it's much tastier, too - we'll have to try that!

Kara said...

Yes, just like that. I had forgotten all about shake n bake!