This past month of September I celebrated my birthday and on that same day also celebrated 29 years married to my Richard. I can hardly believe that so much time has gone by. Because it was a special occasion, I enjoyed cooking something we really love. I was lucky to stumble across a package of filet mignon steaks perfect for two. And since I had never prepared them at home, I was ready to learn. First thing that came to mind was cast iron pan! We enjoy grilled steaks, but also love the results of the cast iron method. It’s a very simple process that requires few ingredients and timing. For the second meal, I let Richard pick his favorite, which is pork chops. If I prepared them 4 times a week, he would not complain! Lol! Marinating the pork chops in a brine solution is a must for more flavorful and moist chops. Two simple meals that we enjoyed in the comfort of our own home without the restaurant price. And both recipes were perfect for cast iron cooking. There are not many prep pictures included since I was not even sure I was going to include them on the blog today. But, I thought the recipes were worth sharing.
Filet Mignon~Cast Iron Cooking
For Filet Mignon
2 steaks (one pound total)
coarse sea salt or kosher
fresh cracked pepper
oregano and thyme( I used dried, but you could use fresh herbs, finely chopped)
olive oil for steak and pan
Unsalted butter for pan and steak at the end.
1.Bring the steak to room tempeature for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Season the steak with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme. Drizzle with a little oil. Season right before you cook it.
2. When ready to cook, preheat cast iron pan to medium/high heat. When hot, drizzle pan with olive oil and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Sear at high heat in cast iron skillet for 3 minutes per side. Finish in preheated 400 degree oven for 6 minutes or until internal temperature is 135 degrees. Ran out of butter, but would have added some right before it came off heat.
Garnished warm steak with a quick spicy barbeque sauce and a side of crispy homemade fries. Click onto picture to see full recipe for barbeque sauce.
My husband enjoyed his fries on the side. I on the other hand enjoyed mine with my version of the ultimate taco truck fries, lol! Topped with Chihuahua cheese, fresno chiles, red onion, spicy bbq sauce… I would have like to add some crema and pickled jalapeños, cilantro, maybe more cheese…hahaha! They were delicious!!
Thick Cut Chops In a Brine~Cast Iron Cooking
1 cup water, plus 2 more separate
3 tablespoons salt
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon peppercorns, smashed
2 bay leaves
You wil also need
2 thick cut, boneless pork chops (1 pound total)
*these were slightly bigger than 1 inch in thickness
Fresh cracked pepper
Cast iron pan or an oven safe skillet
I served the chops with mashed potatoes and a vegetable side, simple and tasty.
1. To a small sauce pan, add 1 cup of water, salt, onion, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and cook just until salt dissolves. Pour in the 2 cups of cold water to the hot and let cool all together. This same brine can be used for chicken.
2. Once brine is cool, pour over the pork chops to, making sure they are covered with the brine. Cover or seal and marinate overnight.
3. Pull pork from brine at least 30 minutes before cook time. Pat dry with paper towels and season with fresh cracked pepper. Take your cast iron pan or oven safe skillet and place in oven. Preheat to 400 degrees F.
4. When oven comes up to temperature, have your stove top burner ready at a temperature of medium/high. Remove skillet from oven and place on hot burner. Add some oil to the hot pan. Sear the chops for 3 minutes per side. Transfer the whole pan back into the oven and cook for another 6 minutes or until the internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees F. Remove from pan onto plate, tent loosely and let rest for 5 minutes. Yields 2 to 4 servings.
During the warmer months, we like to use our outdoor grill as much as possible. I used the same formula for preparing the brine for these grilled center cut pork chops! I had 8 chops, so I doubled the brine recipe. Follow the recipe above, except you will grill them outside. Preheat grill to medium/high for 10 minutes. Brush grates with oil. Grill 3-4 minutes per side and then I moved the chops to the cooler side of the grill. Continue cooking (about 6-7) until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely and let then pork chops rest for 5 minutes.
Grilled some sweet and hot peppers along side.
Grilled some fresh corn without the husk for about 20 minutes, turning as needed. Brushed the corn with some homemade chamoy sauce.