Pork 'Parm' with Polenta and Marinara Sauce
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- 8 thin, boneless pork loin chops (about 2 pounds total), trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- About 1 1/2 cups flour
- 4 large eggs
- About 1 1/2 freshly grated Parm, divided
- 1 cup panko
- 1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or ground fennel
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for shallow frying
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Italian red wine, such as Chianti
- 3 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- A handful fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crushed
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup instant polenta
- A few grates nutmeg
Place the pork chops between sheets of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound them to 1/8-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Set up a breading station: Place the flour in a shallow dish, beat the eggs with a splash of water in another and mix 1 cup grated cheese, the panko, breadcrumbs, fennel pollen, some salt and pepper in the third.
In a medium pot or small Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high; add 1 tablespoon butter and let it melt into the oil.
Add the garlic and crushed red pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Mix in the tomato paste. Stir in the wine, then 1 cup stock. Add the tomatoes and herbs; season with salt. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce thickens, 12-15 minutes.
In a large, 12- to 14-inch skillet placed over a large burner, heat about 1/4 inch oil over medium to medium-high. Working in batches, coat the cutlets first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere.
Fry until browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Place on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet; cover with foil and keep warm.
In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups stock and the milk to a low boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Cook, whisking often, until thick, 2-3 minutes. Add the nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the remaining 1/2 cup Parm.
To serve, spoon a puddle of polenta on one side of each plate then shingle 2 cutlets onto the plates with the bottom cutlet on top of the polenta. Top the pork with a few spoonfuls of marinara.
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