I’ve only used pink peppercorns a few times in my cooking life so I was excited when they won the poll last week.
These things can be kind of tricky to find. I wasn’t able to find any in my local grocery stores, but luckily I had some that I ordered online a while ago. If you’re in the market, I recommend getting them from Penzey’s. They have a very high quality product and they are what I used for this dish.
It’s really hard to describe the flavor of pink peppercorns. Before you cook with them, I recommend trying one by itself. The flavor is kind of sweet with an almost anise tone to it. It’s honestly a pretty subtle taste, especially when you compare it to a black peppercorn.
I figured that the light sweetness would go really well with a pork dish and I was very right. By stirring the peppercorns into a light pan gravy at the very end of cooking, they give the whole dish this really interesting flavor.
1) Use a sharp knife and slice the pork chops down the center, butterflying them open. Try not to cut all the way through them.
2) Cover the chops with plastic wrap and pound them thin with a mallet or heavy pan.
3) Dredge the chops in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper. Then move to egg wash and finally move to the breadcrumb/parmesan breading.
4) Let the chops rest for 5-10 minutes before cooking them so the breadcrumbs can dry a bit.
5) Heat oil in a large heavy pan or skillet over medium high heat.
6) Add chops and cook for about 3 minutes per side until the chops are crispy and golden brown. Move finished chops to a 250 degree oven. Work in batches and don't over-crowd the pan.
7) Once chops are done, pour out most of the oil from the pan (you can save it for later). Add diced onion to pan and use oil and onion to scrape up any bits stuck to pan.
8) Whisk in flour and turn heat down to medium. Cook for a few minutes.
9) Slowly whisk in milk. As milk begins to simmer it should thicken. Feel free to add more milk if the gravy gets too thick.
10) Finally stir in peppercorns and a pinch of salt.
11) Pour gravy over pork chops and serve immediately.
Prepping the Pork
I love pork milanese when it’s made correctly. A good one will have a nice, crispy crust and juicy pork. Most people over-cook them though which is a travesty.
To start the pork, you need a few really good boneless pork chops. Using a sharp knife, butterfly them open, being careful not to cut them in half.
Cover each piece with plastic wrap and use a mallet or something heavy (pan will work) to lightly pound the pork into a thin even piece. The plastic wrap just keeps pieces of pork from flying all over your kitchen.
Once you have all your pork chops butterflied and pounded thin, take each one and run it through the breading process.
For review, that means you start it in some flour that’s been well seasoned with salt and pepper. This step just helps dry out the pork and makes it easier for the other layers to stick to it.
Then move the pork to the eggs. Turn it over a few times and make sure that each side is well-coated with egg.
Finally, move the pork to your breadcrumbs. I like to use Panko for this because they are really nice and light, but you could use any breadcrumb really. Be sure to mix some Parmesan cheese into your breadcrumbs to give it some salty flavor.
Really pack the breadcrumbs onto the pork so it sticks well.
Once your pork is breaded, let them rest for at least 5 minutes while you prepare your pan and stuff.
This is actually a really important step because it’ll give your breading a chance to kind of dry onto the pork. If you don’t do this, you’ll run the risk of having all your breading pull off when you cut into your pork.
Cooking the Pork
When you’re ready to cook the pork, add about a cup of oil to a large heavy pot or skillet. You just need a small amount of oil over the whole pan. Crank your heat up to medium-high and once your oil is hot, gently set your pork chops in the pan.
Be sure not to over-crowd the pan. If you’re doing more than two pork chops, you’ll want to work in batches. You definitely don’t want to have the chops overlapping or even touching.
Cook the chops for about 3 minutes per side. They should be awesomely browned when you flip them.
When the chops are done, move them to a 250 degree oven to stay warm and crispy while you cook the rest of the chops and make the gravy.
The Pink Peppercorns
These things are really pretty actually. Love the color!
Once your pork is done frying, whatever you do, don’t wash your pan! You can use the same pan to make a very delicious gravy.
Start by pouring out most of the oil that’s in the pan. You can save it for frying something else later if you want. You’ll have lots of little bits of breadcrumbs and pork stuck to the pan which is great.
Add your diced onion to the pan and turn the heat down a bit to medium. Use the onion and leftover oil in the p an to scrape up any bits of stuff stuck to the pan. Then stir in your flour. The flour will stick to the onions and breadcrumbs and form kind of a oil-breadcrumb-onion roux.
Cook this down for a few minutes.
Then bring out your whisk and slowly start whisking your milk into the roux. If you work slowly you should be able to whisk in all the milk without creating any lumps. As the milk heats up, it should start to thicken.
The gravy might need to simmer for 5-10 minutes to thicken completely and feel free to add more milk to it in small amounts if it seems too thick to you.
As a final step, season the gravy a bit with salt and stir in those lovely pink peppercorns. To distribute their flavor a bit more, I recommend crushing the peppercorns with the side of a big knife before adding them to the gravy.
Stir them in and just pour the gravy over the pork. You can either do this plate by plate or make one large family style dish with all the pork and all the gravy.
This was a really delicious fall meal. The pork is nice and crispy and the pink peppercorns give the gravy this very unique flavor. It’s like no other gravy you’ll ever have!
It might seem like a lot of work, but really the dish only takes about 30-45 minutes to make start to finish because the pork doesn’t take that long to cook.
Has anybody else tried pink peppercorns? Do you like them? Leave a comment!