I’m not a Chef, but… (Installment 2)
Drop it Like it’s Chop
I got the wild idea to pan sear some veal chops, make a pan sauce, roast some beets, and call it Tuesday night dinner. Roasted beets are like pieces of candy which I’ve heard are actually good for your blood. 14 ounce, bone in veal chops are one of the tastiest things to ever make contact with my stainless steel fry pan. The pan sauce is the next tastiest thing to ever leave my fry pan. Plate it all together, and like I said, Tuesday night dinner is served.
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves is highly recommended unless you enjoy having purple fingers for a few days. Peel your beets with a pairing knife or potato peeler and cut into half-inch cubes. Toss your beet cubes in a bowl with salt, pepper and olive oil and place on a sheet pan in the oven for about an hour, or until tender. Tossing every 20 minutes does not hurt and helps prevent sticking.
After getting the beets in the oven, rinse the veal chops with cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and allow to sit until they are room temperature. With you stove on high, medium high heat, pour enough olive oil in your stainless steel pan to coat the bottom and sprinkle each chop with kosher salt and black pepper. Once the pan is smoking hot, sear the chops on both sides for about 5 minutes and bring the pan straight into the oven. After about 5 or 6 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and return to your stove top. Remove the veal chops from the pan and allow to rest.
Now is time for your pan sauce. All those brown bits at the bottom of the pan are called fond, and they’re just waiting to be dissolved with a flavorful liquid. First, be careful because the pan just came out a 350 degree oven, and the handle will be very hot. Next, add some minced shallot and garlic and sauté on medium heat for about a minute. Then, deglaze the pan with your favorite stock, red or white wine, and or demi glace, scraping and dissolving all those brown bits with a wooden spoon. In my situation, I used chicken stock, veal demi glace and a splash of pinot noir. Only a splash though because it was really good pinot, and I was being greedy. Stir and reduce until desired consistency.
A great meal is not difficult, once you have a few basics down. In fact, the veal chops came out just a degree or two over medium rare, which is perfect for me. Next time I will cube the beets slightly larger. And since we’re being completely honest, I love making pan sauces, but I put way too much shallot and garlic in the pan sauce, which caused everyone to breathe fire for few days. Look, I’m not a chef, but we ate pretty well for a Tuesday night.