Monday, February 9, 2009

Glazed Pork Chops

I love recipes like this one because I love sauce and I love meat smothered in sauce. Even though I love sauce, not every meat recipe that has sauce will work for my family. Unfortunately my picky eater and I have different view points on sauce, and if a recipe cannot easily accommodate a sauce-less version for him, it is not a recipe that I want to waste my time making. This recipe is one of those recipes that tastes great and that can easily accommodate both the sauce-lover and the sauce-hater, if you will. (I told you I loved this recipe!)

I am always in hot pursuit of recipes where the sauce is added near the final stages of the meal preparation. I can pull out one of the pork chops right before the sauce is added to have some meat for my son just the way he likes it, and then continue cooking as the recipe states for the rest of the family. The outcome--one pork chop plain, the remaining pork chops smothered in sauce, and one smile per family member at the dinner table. What more can a mother ask for??


INGREDIENTS:

Glaze
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch cayenne pepper

Chops
4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops, 5-7 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Table salt
Ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all glaze ingredients in medium bowl; mix thoroughly and set aside.

2. Ensure the thickness of your pork chops is between 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. I bought a large package of pork chops from Costco and this is how to they looked right out of the package....way too thick.


To change the thickness, place your pork chops between two pieces of wax paper and pound until you have reached the desired thickness. It will not matter if you pound them 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick, but all of the pork chops need to be the same thickness. Do not directly pound the silver skin on the side. This is what your chops will look like after pounding.


3. Remove any excess fat from each pork chop and then score each pork chop's silver skin twice with a sharp knife, each score should be about 2 inches apart. Do not cut into the meat of the chops while scoring.

Martha Stewart would not have approved of my scoring or this picture...but it works for me. I know this may come as a surprise to you, but I cannot handle touching and working with raw meat. I do this for my family, but trust me when I tell you, if my husband was home right now, he would have done this for me and Martha probably would have approved of his work.

4. Pat chops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. This is an important step...seasoning for meat is done prior to cooking for the best flavor.


5. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well-browned, 4-6 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer. I used a splatter guard...if you have one I recommend using it, if not, expect a little more time to clean-up after cooking:-)



6. Transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet. Check internal temperature of chops. If your chops are on the thinner side and have an internal temperature already at the 140 degree mark, skip step 7.


7. If your chops do not have an internal temperature of 140 degrees, return them to the skillet, browned side up, and add glaze mixture. Cook over medium heat until center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes.


8. Remove skillet from heat; transfer chops to clean platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.


9. When chops have rested, add any accumulated juices to skillet with the sauce and set over medium heat. Simmer, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave a wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2-6 minutes. You can see my two spatula trails in the lower left hand corner of this picture.

Here's the advice of Cook's Illustrated on the glaze: "Getting the glaze right takes some finessing--a few extra seconds can mean the difference between luxurious texture and gooey mess. Our solution? Monitor the size of the bubbles, the color of the glaze, and the amount of exposed pan surface."

NOT YET: Pan surface has just a few small bubbles, and a spatula makes no trails.

JUST RIGHT: Increased bubbles, caramel color, and a spatula just starts to make trails.

TOO LONG: Many large bubbles, ultra-dark glaze, and plenty of exposed pan surface.
10. Return chops to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. (This is the step that I eliminated for my picky eater.) Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over chops. Serve immediately.




Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Click here for printable version of this recipe.

3 comments:

Four For France said...

This was an INSTANT family favorite. All my boys raved! Thanks. jw

Mamahollioni said...

I'm so glad!! Did you have any trouble with the sauce? Was the additional information from Cook's Illustrated helpful? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.