Food during the medieval period depended largely on availability. The kind of food people ate depended on their class and social ranking.
The noble class had access to a variety of wild and domesticated meats. Nobles consumed geese, peacocks, cranes, pigeons and crows.
Goats had been domesticated for thousands of years. The meat of kids and adult goats was consumed, although it was not popular in most parts of Europe.
Mutton was a preferred meat, especially if it came from a wether. Roasted leg of lamb was eaten by both peasants and nobility.
Wild hare was frequently served. Only lords and nobles were allowed to hunt deer, boar and hares. Poaching could result in death, so these types of meat were not available to the poor. Venison was a popular meat at banquets.
Wild boar was highly prized. On special occasions, the boar’s head was cooked and presented on a platter.
While nobles had many types of meat from which to choose, meat for the peasant class was limited. Peasants mostly ate pork, because it was the most common domesticated meat at the time.
In medieval Europe, pigs were inexpensive animals to raise, because they could forage in the oak forests for acorns. Every part of the pig could be used for food, including the hooves, which were boiled for the gelatin. The intestines served as casings for sausages.
Pork remains a popular meat today for many of the same reasons. Pigs grow fast. They will eat everything, and, once slaughtered, nearly every portion can be used.
Compared to other meats and poultry, pork compares favorable for fat, calories and cholesterol, and it provides plenty of vitamins and minerals. Many cuts of pork are as lean or even leaner than chicken.
Pork chops are a tender, quick-cooking cut of meat. They are easy to overcook. This recipe starts the cooking on the stovetop, where they get a good sear. They are then transferred to the oven to finish cooking. The gentle heat helps control the rate of cooking and prevents the outside from getting dry before the interior of the chops has finished cooking.
Baked Pork Chops
6 pork chops
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Season pork chops with garlic powder and seasoning salt to taste. Place the beaten egg in a small bowl. Dredge the pork chops lightly in flour, dip in the egg and coat liberally with bread crumbs.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the pork chops 5 minutes per side, or until the breading appears well browned. Transfer the chops to a 9-x-13-inch baking dish and cover with foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. While baking, combine the cream of mushroom soup, and milk in a medium bowl.
After the pork chops have baked for an hour, cover them with the soup mixture. Replace foil and bake for another 30 minutes.