COOK CLUB: Learn the art of the simple saute to make Pork Cutlets with Curried Onion and Mango Sauce

Carly Weber
Published: April 2 2014 | 3:16 pm - Updated: 7 April 2014 | 3:05 pm in

Whether you are a practiced home chef or more of a microwave cook, you probably have a sauté pan or skillet in your kitchen if for no other reason than to fry an egg. Saute pans are a pretty basic tool in any kitchen.

Similarly, think of sauteing as a basic tool in your arsenal of cooking techniques. Learning to saute is an important first step in becoming a more confident cook.

It’s role as a cooking building block also makes it a natural focus for this month’s Gazette KCRG Cook Club recipe. In January and February, we taught you to take it slow with a slow cooker ragu and a citrus braise respectively.

Last month, we turned up the heat with a riff on Pad Thai featuring cabbage, red pepper, carrots and onion sauteed and soaked in a peanut sauce. So if you made the dish with us, you got a head start on April’s cook club technique.

Like last month’s recipe, we look to the Far East for inspiration. This time, though, we found our flavors in India. The result is sauteed Pork Cutlets with Curried Onion and Mango Sauce.

We know you’re busy. So this month’s dish is also one that uses just one pan and can be done in 30 minutes or less.

Starting with a saute, gives you the added benfit of turning all the wonderful flavors and bits swimming in the pan to build a pan sauce. More often than not, this will involve removing your meat for a time while you sauté vegetables or aromatics and deglaze the pan (to release said bits from the bottom of the pan) to begin creating your sauce. The meat can then be added back into soak up the flavors of the sauce.

So, break out those skillets and sauté pans and get sizzling with this quick and easy technique.

Follow these steps for a successful saute:

  • Don’t hurry. Allow the pan and oil or butter enough time to heat up before adding ingredients. If you don’t wait, ingredients will stick like glue to the pan.
  • Give ingredients room to breathe. It is tempting to overcrowd the pan for an even quicker meal, but especially with meat, it is important to allow for space between each piece so that it will brown not steam.
  • Keep your hands off. Once your ingredients make contact with the pan, keep an eye on them but resist the temptation to move or flip before it is browned on one side. The more you move it, the longer it will take to cook and the more likely it will stick.
  • A trick: If you do have meat that adheres to the skillet, the good people of America’s Test Kitchen recommend dipping a flexible spatula into cold water and sliding the spatula blade, inverted, underneath the food to break the seal between the food and the pan.

Sauteed Pork Cutlets with Curried Onion and Mango Sauce

Serves 4

3/4 to 1 pound pork cutlets

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 white onion, cut in half and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon Chinese 5-Spice powder

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon apricot or mango jam

1/2 cup fresh mango, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Trim the cutlets of any visible fat, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is just smoking, place half of the cutlets in the skillet and cook until lightly golden about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to cook on the other side for another 2 minutes. Place cutlets on an oven safe platter and tent with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining oil and cutlets. Transfer to platter and place in oven to keep warm while making the sauce.

For the sauce, add sliced onions and salt to oil left in skillet and saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until softened and slightly browned. In a medium bowl, stir wine, cornstarch, curry, Chinese 5-Spice, cayenne, mustard and jam until smooth. Pour white wine mixture over onions and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the mango and cranberries. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer until the mango is softened and the sauce has thickened. Remove pork cutlets from the oven and place on top of sauce until ready to serve.

Source: Heather Younker for Gazette KCRG Cook Club

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