A Pork Chop drenched in Crumbs and loaded with Happy Memories!

A thick pork chop drenched in crumbs, served with a ladle full of mashed potatoes and a big helping of buttery sweet peas will always remind me of my days at  University of Stellenbosch or Maties as we refer to it here.
In the middle of the university complex was a restaurant called Die Neelsie and that was the place where students could meet around a greasy meal, solving  the country’s political issues, before they had to rush off to their next class. The restaurant had a “Special” meal for every day of the week. On Mondays it was beef stew and not many students line up for it!

On Fridays however it was Crumbed Pork Chops with mashed potatoes and sweet buttery peas and trust me the lines were so long that it was time for your next class before you get to the front of that line. Believe me, I missed many a class, but a Pork Chop meal, NEVER! That meal was a bargain from which ever angle you looked at it. The pork chop was the size of  your plate and the mash and peas would be served on top of the chop, the mash was enough to eat and still have left over for a mash flicking session and I happen to like sweet peas. To top that, this meal would only cost something like R6.50! Maybe the health angle was the only angle from where this was not such a good idea, because I think that meal must have been loaded with calories! Not that I cared much then!

These days I care a  little more about what I eat, but when I saw the two thick pork chops in the shop today, I knew I had to re-live those days at the Neelsie. My husband did not study at that University, so he did not eat this meal with all the nostalgia, but rather with great gusto and was very sad that I only made two Pork chops.( I know what is good for us you see!)

Normally a pork loin chop can be very dry and tough unless it is braised slowly in some kind of liquid, but I think my plan to marinade these chops in some buttermilk for a couple of hours, worked really well and the chops were soft and tender and delicious!

Crumbed Pork Chops
Serves 2

2 thick( 2 cm or 1 inch thick) pork loin chops
1 cup buttermilk.

Pour the buttermilk in a glass bowl and marinade the pork chops in there for at least 1 hour. While the meat is in the marinade, make this dry rub.

Dry rub for crumbed pork

2 tbsp salt

2 cups flour
2 tbsp pepper
4 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic salt
½ tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp dry thyme
1 tbsp dry basil
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tbsp dry fine ginger

The rub makes about 3 cups and can be used on pork or chicken.  Preheat oven to 180C. When you are ready to prepare your meal, place some of the dry rub(about ½ cup) in a plate. Once the meat has been in the buttermilk for an hour, remove the meat from the milk and shake off the excess buttermilk. Place meat in the coating mix and make sure the whole chop is covered. Transfer to a baking dish and bake these chops in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes. Serve with  a simple salad and some new potatoes. I served mine with a Asian Pear and Blueberry salad with a wholegrain mustard dressing. The pear was perfect to cut through the richness of the pork and the mustard provided the necessary tang!

Once you have managed the crumbing technique, try these easy recipes!