Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gentle pork chops

Peter got us a huge package of pork loin chops (on the bone) from the Manager’s Specials bin at Safeway the other day. They were pretty big, about ¾ lb. each and were ¾” thick. Only two of them were of a quality for serving straight up. The other four were pretty well laced with sinew and fat. I trim them off the bone and make posole or something. In the meantime, into the freezer they went.

My success at pan-frying pork chops has been variable. I thought long and hard and decided a gentle braise could be the way to go. This was a highly successful recipe. The chops were tender and juicy and very flavorful.

One odd ingredient I had was a McCormack’s mix of black and red pepper. Just use black and red separately.

Here’s an oddity: are you as unsure as am I what is meant by “medium” or “medium high” heat on your electric stove. Here’s what I’ve settled on: the dial on my stove goes from 1 to 10. 5, right at the bottom 6 o’clock position, is what I call “medium high.” 4 is my “medium” and 3 my “medium low.” It works for me.

Oh, the accompaniments were a small salad and a wedge of leftover potato galette.

Gentle pork chops
2 large bone-in pork loin chops, 3/4” thick
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
½ tsp smoked paprika (or 1 tsp sweet paprika)
black pepper to taste
cayenne pepper to taste
1/3 cup beef stock

Trim the chops of excess fat. Brine them in 2 cups of water into which you’ve dissolved 2 tbsp kosher salt, and stirred in 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper. Put this into a zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 2, and better, 3 hours. Remove from the fridge, rinse very well under cold water, and set aside 30 minutes before cooking.

Sprinkle one side of each chop with paprika, black and red pepper. If using smoked paprika, only season 1 side with it, otherwise this stuff can hijack the dish. NOTE: no added salt!

Heat the oil and butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until the butter threatens to brown. Add the chops, seasoned side down. Season the up side now with paprika and/or more peppers. After 2 minutes turn the chops over. Continue sauteing for just another minute or minute and a half.

Carefully add in the beef stock, reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan and let it simmer slowly for 6-8 minutes. Check for doneness by slicing into the meat at its thickest part next to the bone. It probably needs more time. I just kept checking at 2 minutes intervals until I saw that it was only a bit pink in there.

Remove to a cutting board and cover with foil.

Raise the heat to medium high and bring the pan juices to a boil. Reduce to about 2 tbsp and drizzle over the chops to serve.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a simple yet delicious idea. As much pork as I cook, I've never done a braise like that. I'm definitely trying this one. I think it's time to give brining one more shot!

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