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Bourbon Pork Chop

Going Beyond the Grill

WGN Selfie June 2015

My standard behind the scenes selfie! Happy to be back at WGN!

A slew of grilled recipes seem to circulate like crazy around Father’s Day.  I have no idea why grills and grilling are always associated with dads, but I’m pretty sure that dads love many types of food in a variety of preparation methods — not just grilled!

While planning the dish that I was to prepare for a recent Father’s Day segment on WGN, I realized that dads across the county are probably sick of the same old stuff.  So, I created a dish that was special but still satisfying and easy to prepare in your home kitchen.  Dads, you can thank me later.

Before you get started, I have a quick PSA… do not overcook your pork chop!  There’s nothing worse than a tough dried out pork chop.  Trust me, there’s no saving it once it’s been overcooked.  As you’ll see in the segment, I cook the pork chop  on just one side on the stovetop and then I transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking it for 10-12 minutes.  This will result in a perfectly cooked, juicy and tender piece of meat.   Here’s the recipe below and you can watch the full segment here.

 

Bourbon Pork Chop

A collection of shots from my segment! Photo: Kristina Miller

 

Pork Chop with Bourbon Glaze Over Spinach Greens

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon
2 bone in 1” thick pork chops
1 clove garlic, minced

Directions:
In a bowl, mix together the mustard, brown sugar, and bourbon. Rub the pork with the garlic and any preferred house seasoning, then brush with half the glaze. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Season pork with salt, pepper or spice rub of choice. Bring burner to medium high heat, sear one side of pork for 4-5 minutes or until nice browning occurs. Then flip pork over, top with glaze and finish in oven for 10 minutes or until pork has internal temperature of 165F. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Apply additional glaze over pork and serve over spinach greens. Garnish with Heirloom Tomato.

There you have it!  As always, I love seeing photos of your dishes, so be sure to tag me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Cheers to all the dads!

Chef Aram

Thanksgiving Dinner – Part I: The Bird

Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is America’s favorite holiday because it’s the only day that’s all about the food.  We’ve waited the entire year for that big, golden bird with all the trimmings.  This is the day where foods that dare not meet during other months, now, happily rub shoulders with one another to form glorious food-collages on our plates.

Thanksgiving Dinner If you’re the person who’ll be preparing this year’s dinner – kudos!  I’ve got a few pro tips that’ll make this the easiest (and best-tasting) Thanksgiving dinner ever.

In this blog post, we’ll start with the turkey.  First, let’s decide which type of turkey you’ll buy.  This is really all about preference.  If you’re interested in purchasing a local bird, here’s a good list of places in Chicago where you can pre-order your bird.  There are several turkey variations available such as “natural”, “kosher” and  “heritage” all of which can be a little confusing, but Saveur has laid out the differences for us.

See Saveur's list of what's what in the world of turkeys.

See Saveur’s list of what’s what in the world of turkeys.

Now that we’ve selected our turkey, let’s get cooking. The first mistake that many make with the turkey begins with the cook’s picturesque vision of a whole bird cooked to perfection and served on a platter all ready to carve.  If you have that vision, dump it.

For the best turkey that you’ve ever had, I want you to deconstruct your turkey into two parts: leg/thigh quarters and breasts.  Why?  Well, we all know that white meat cooks faster than dark meat, so by breaking down your turkey, you’re allowing for a more even cooking process.  It’s called the cut-up-and-cook approach and in addition to a juicier turkey, you’ll also get a richer tasting gravy with this method.

Here’s a video on how to deconstruct your turkey at home with just a few simple cuts.  Make sure that you have a good, sharp knife.  And if you feel uncomfortable breaking it down yourself, just ask your butcher to do it for you. (Note: I recommend keeping the leg and thigh quarter together and this video separates them. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your preference.).  Once you’ve deconstructed your turkey, follow my Thanksgiving turkey recipe below.

Thanksgiving Turkey

1 Turkey, broken down into two parts, leg/thigh quarters and breasts, on separate sheet trays

4T Dried Herbs de Provence

Salt and Pepper

1 Shallot, small dice

1 C White Wine

3 C Turkey Stock

2T Butter

1⁄2 Cup Cranberry Puree

 Preparation:

• Season turkey with salt, pepper and dried herbs

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees

• In large sauté pan, medium-high heat, add olive oil

• Place turkey skin side down, sear until golden brown ~4-5 min

• Add 1-2T of butter to pan and swirl around

• Flip over, and sear the other side until golden brown

• Remove turkey from pan and place on sheet trays, then in the oven

• Cook until turkey reaches internal temp of 165 degrees.

• 1 hr for white meat, 1.5 hrs for dark meat quarters

• Turn the heat down to medium-low

• Add extra fat if needed to pan, then add shallot

• Sauté until tender, ~2-3 min

• Take a sip of the wine, then add the rest to the pan to deglaze

• Scrape bottom of pan to make sure all the bits come up off the bottom

• Let wine reduce 2-3 min, then add stock. Lets reduce for 10 min

• Add cranberry and butter. Swirl pan, possibly whisk to break up cranberry

• Season to taste with salt and pepper

 Turkey Stock

4 Carrots, rough chop

5 Celery Stalks, rough chop

4 Fresh Rosemary sprigs

Salt and Pepper

Turkey carcass

1 Lg Stock Pot

 Preparation:

• In large stock pot, add carrots, rosemary and celery along with turkey carcass

• Fill stock pot with water just short of the top

• Bring to boil, then down to a simmer for 2 hrs.

• Strain stock to remove all impurities

• Return stock pot to burner and reduce until desired color and flavor

• Season with salt and pepper to taste

Make sure the internal temp reaches 165 degrees!

Make sure the internal temp reaches 165 degrees!

Once the turkey is done, go ahead and grab that beautiful platter of yours and arrange the turkey for presentation.  Trust me, once you and your guests take a bite of this bird, they’ll be singing your praises.

 In my next blog post I’ll share a few side dishes that I like to add to my Thanksgiving spread.  Don’t forget to ping me @chefaramreed on Facebook and Twitter with any Thanksgiving cooking questions.

Cheers!

Chef Aram

Happy Birthday, Chicago!

Happy birthday, Chicago!  177 years old and you don’t look a day over a century. Such a momentous occasion sparks nostalgia and reminds me why I love this city. I love Chicago for the people. We are hard working people that put up with so much shit. The weather, the politics, the expense, but we are survivors. We live here because we want to. And together we make it one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Amazing neighborhoods, amazing food, amazing architecture, Midwestern values.

The following recipe is a taste of Chicago and I first made this dish as a contestant on Season One of ABC’s “The Taste”. It’s as an homage to Chitown, highlighting our city’s meatpacking and butchering history mixed with a host of flavors that reflect our city’s melting pot. Red pepper flakes straight from the table of your favorite pizza place. Sweet potatoes as a spin on the proverbial Midwestern “meat and potato” with a nod to our city’s soul food influence.

Sandburg got it right, “…city of the Big Shoulders…come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.” Words that still ring true today and I’ve never been more proud to represent my city.

Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon Sweet Potato and Kale

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2T Garlic Minced
2T Red Chili Flakes
2T Fennel Seeds
1 Pork Tenderloin
2 Medium Sweet Potato
1T Butter
1T Brown Sugar
1/4c Bourbon
1 bunch, Kale

Pork: Trim off silver skin and any excess fat. Preheat oven to 375. Then pat down with paper towel to absorb any additional moisture. Season the pork with salt, garlic, chili flakes and garlic evenly.

Preheat saute pan to medium-hi heat. Add oil and brown Pork on all sides, about 5 min per side. Then transfer pork to sheet tray and put in oven for ~15 min. Internal temp should read 145F. Let rest for 5 min before slicing.

Potato: Peel sweet potato and cut into small dice. Add potato to boiling water, and boil until tender ~15 min. Drain water and add sugar, butter and bourbon to pot. Return potato and stir evenly. Season with salt. Using a masher or your spatula, stir potatoes until they are smooth in texture.

Kale: Rip kale leaves into one inch pieces, removing all stems. In saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil and then saute kale until bright green in color. 3 min. Don’t overcook, as you’ll want the texture to be just right.

Serve together and enjoy.

Cheers,

Chef Aram Reed

New Website and Blog Are Up!

The New ChefAramReed.com

The New ChefAramReed.com

After a few seasons of working in Chicago, I realized my site was in need of updating and my presence (here in Chicago) needed expanding. So, I reached out to local designer (and long-time friend) Will Hobbs to help me develop some new material. My new site, chefaramreed.com, rolled-out in early August, and this blog will continue to update with news and other noteworthy entries to keep you up-to-date. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and classes, too… there should be some really interesting developments over the next couple of months!