It's a Keeper: Pork Chops with Andouille French Bread Stuffing & Green Bean Salad

Do you have one food that your parents fed you ALL THE TIME and you therefore can no longer eat it? I thought mine was pork chops, mostly because shake and bake pork chops were served about three times a week in my house. That and Stove Top Stuffing. So, when I saw Rachael make Pork Chops with Andouille French Bread Stuffing & Green Bean Salad on her talk show, I challenged myself to make it, if only to overcome my hatred of pork chops and stuffing. Since I never make pork chops and stuffing, this ended up being a great departure from the usual for us.

With the help of my husband, this meal came in at about 40 minutes. If you are making it by yourself, I would do it on a weekend when you don't have to worry about time. I'm not even sure it's intended to be a 30 minute meal, since it's from Rachael's talk show, not her Food Network show. I used whole wheat bread for the stuffing to make it a little bit healthier but other than than, I didn't make many changes. Here is the recipe with my comments in brackets:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) plus 1/3 of a cup, divided
1 package (4 links) andouille sausage, chopped into bite-size pieces
4 bone-in pork rib chops, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
Salt and pepper
4 ribs celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 small red onions, 2 chopped and 1 sliced, divided
4 cloves garlic, 3 chopped, 1 cracked peeled and left whole
1 fresh bay leaf
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from the stem
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce, to taste, plus a dash for the salad dressing
4 cups French bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used whole wheat and it was wonderful!]
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, divided
1 1/2 pounds green beans [I buy the ones that are already trimmed. That saves some serious time for a slow chopper like me.]
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 ounces of whisky, such as Southern Comfort (about 2 of the small, airplane-size bottles) [No SoCo in my house, so I use Seagram's Seven whisky. I think SoCo would be bset if you have it.]
3 tablespoons cold butter [I don't know why it has to be cold, but I just smile, nod and play along.]

Preheat oven 400°F.

Place a medium-size pot of salted water over high heat and bring up to a boil.

While the water is coming up to a boil, place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the chopped andouille sausage and cook, stirring every couple of minutes until it is brown and crisp, about 4-5 minutes.

While the sausage is cooking, place a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper, and place in the hot skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes on each side until brown. Transfer skillet to the oven to finish cooking, about 10-12 minutes. [If your skillet does not have an oven-safe handle, Rachael recommends covering the handle in tin foil before placing it in the oven.]

To the skillet with the sausage, add the celery, green bell pepper, chopped red onion, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, bay leaf, thyme and hot sauce to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bread cubes and enough chicken stock to moisten the bread, about 1 1/2 cups; you want the bread to just barely stick together with the andouille and veggies. Remove the bay leaf and take off the heat to keep warm.

Add the green beans to the pot of boiling salted water. Cook 1-2 minutes for crunchy beans or 4-5 minutes for softer beans. [Go crunchy!] Rub the inside of a large bowl with the whole garlic clove. [When making this just for the two of us, I make the dressing in a separate bowl so that we don't drown the salad in dressing. I just find it difficult to cut a recipe like this in half.] Add the mustard, honey, white wine vinegar and a dash of hot sauce and whisk to combine. In a slow steady stream, whisk in 1/3 cup of EVOO. Add the sliced red onions and the warm beans, season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Remove the pork chops from the oven and transfer to a plate. Cover loosely with foil and let rest. Add the Southern Comfort to the pork chop skillet away from the heat then return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat to let the alcohol cook out. (Remember: the handle is very hot so use a kitchen towel or pot holder to move it about.) Once it is done flaming, scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release the brown bits. [No flaming for me.] Add the remaining 1 cup of chicken stock and turn the heat up to high, cooking until the stock has reduced by half. Turn the heat off and add the butter, stirring until it has completely melted.

To serve, divide the andouille-French bread stuffing between 4 plates, top each portion with a pork chop then pour a little of the Southern Comfort sauce over the top of each chop. Serve the green bean salad alongside.


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