Even after the original “Best of Bridge” authors retired, the series of cookbooks that they created endures.
Julie Van Rosendaal, Sue Duncan and Elizabeth Chorney-Booth, a team of recipe developers/food writers from Western Canada, have pulled together to create more “Best of Bridge” books, true to the tradition of the originals.
“Best of Bridge Sunday Suppers: all-new recipes for family and friends”, (Robert Rose, Toronto, 2017) follows the usual friendly Best of Bridge format. It’s clearly written, features attractive groups of colour photos showing completed dishes (some, not all of them), includes little jokes for the cook and has a decent index. The book has a sturdy hard cover with enclosed coil binding to keep it lying flat while in use.
“Sunday Suppers” is intended to support readers in bringing family and friends together to share meals. The “Sunday” part of the title refers to the idea that, at least in the past, people put extra time and effort into making weekend meals for the special people in their lives.
The authors recognize that times change, and Sunday supper-style meals aren’t always cooked on Sundays, nor are all Sunday suppers time-consuming to prepare; they have, however, selected dishes that they feel are special enough to share with the people who are important to us. That’s a worthwhile goal.
Some of them weren’t to our tastes, and I won’t be making them again; Ann’s Bean and Couscous Salad, while extraordinarily easy to prepare, could have used less couscous and more beans; Jackie’s Brisket, was just too salty; and though Mango Butternut Soup sounded wonderful, I didn’t find the flavours to be balanced.
There are others that I’ll happily return to when preparing for special occasions: Grandma Ruby’s Fudge Ribbon Cake, which in spite of a somewhat unusual technique comes together beautifully, with a dramatic ribbon of cream cheese in each layer; Greek-Inspired Pork Skewers, good even when cooked under the broiler after the barbecue was put away for winter; Jason’s Grandma’s 2-Hour Buns, a worthy contribution to dinner at a friend’s house; Roasted Squash and Ricotta Ravioli, a fun way to serve some of our garden squash; and the recipe that follows, for pork chops with a special twist.
Depending on your guests’ appetites, one of these pork chops may be more than enough for a serving. I found that a thick chop like this was enough for 2 meals.
Buttermilk Pork Chops with Lemon Caper Sauce
4 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick centre-cut bone-in pork chops (see Tip)
500 mL (2 cups) buttermilk
salt and black pepper to taste
30 mL (2 tbsp) butter
15 mL (1 tbsp) all purpose flour
2 mL (½ tsp) dried thyme
250 mL (1 cup) basic chicken stock (recipe in “Sunday Dinners”, or ready-to-
use chicken broth
30 mL (2 tbsp) lemon juice
10 mL (2 tsp) dry white wine
30 mL (2 tbsp) drained capers
Put the pork chops in a baking dish or a sealable plastic bag. Pour in buttermilk so that the chops are completely covered. Season with salt and pepper. Cover or seal and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F). Remove chops from buttermilk and pat dry. Discard buttermilk. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over high heat. Working in batches as necessary, cook pork until golden on both sides, adding more oil as needed between batches. Transfer chops to a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until just a hint of pink remains inside. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same skillet you used to cook the pork (leave any fat or browned bits in there), melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 3 minutes. Stir in thyme, stock, lemon juice and wine; bring to a boil. Add capers, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve with pork chops.
Makes 4 servings
Tip: The thickness of the pork chops will greatly affect the cooking time. If your chops are thinner than 2.5 cm (1 inch), keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook and dry out; thicker chops may require a longer cooking time.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at email@example.com.