Weekly Winner: Punched Up Pork Chops

IMG_0521It’s no secret that when the carnivore in me comes rearing her hungry head, it’s very rarely steak that she’s looking for…. its a bone-in pork chop!  And while I’m incredibly happy with a simply-seasoned, perfectly-cooked, juicy chop — every once in awhile I go looking for ways to up my pork chop game (or at least provide some interesting variations).

I found just the right inspiration in the latest issue of Bon Appetit.  Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple-Turmeric Glaze.  These were awesome!  Just the right mix of spice and sweet but not so much flavor that it covered up the taste of the pork.  Everything came together in a super flavorful, super easy dinner.  This glaze would also be great on, well, anything!  I can see it on shrimp, chicken, beef…. more pork!  This just might replace my barbecue sauce this summer.

Grilled Pork Chops with Pineapple-Turmeric Glaze

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil (for the grill)
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 4 1″-thick bone-in pork chops
  • Kosher salt

Procedure:

  1. Prepare a grill for high indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one or two burners off; for a charcoal grill, bank coals on one side); oil grate. Bring pineapple juice, honey, vinegar, mustard, red pepper flakes, sesame oil, and turmeric to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling occasionally, until reduced to ¾ cup, 10–15 minutes. Let cool. Transfer half of sauce to a small bowl and set aside for serving.

  2. Season pork with salt. Grill over direct heat until browned all over, about 3 minutes per side. Continue to grill, turning several times and basting with remaining sauce, until charred and coated with a thick layer of glaze, about 4 minutes. Move to cooler part of grill and take internal temperature of pork. If needed, continue grilling over indirect heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into chops near bone registers 130°, 1–4 minutes more. Transfer pork chops to a wire rack and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved sauce alongside.

Advertisements

Weekly Winner: Down & Dirty, and Ugly-Tasty.

IMG_0461I’m not one to mess around with things I dearly love.  A good steak doesn’t need steak sauce or really sauce of any kind.  Salt & Pepper.  Done.  The same can be said (usually) for pork chops.  I love the taste of them as is, no need to muck them up.  Then I learned there is a thing called “Tomato-Bacon Gravy”… wha-what??  OK, maybe a little mucking wouldn’t hurt.  After all you’re adding pig to, well, pig!!  What can be wrong with that?  And, by adding tomatoes aren’t you actually making it healthier? (work with me here!)

Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy is not pretty.  It’s not healthy and not something you’ll necessarily want to serve to company.  But man, on a random chilly night when you just want to change into your pajamas and tuck into something truly scrumptious, this is your meal.  I tried to assuage my guilt by roasting up a big batch of broccoli to go with it, but truth be told I wound up dragging the healthy broccoli through the extra gravy.  This decadent, dirty dinner comes from Southern Living Magazine.  Had I to do it all over again, there would definitely be mashed potatoes with this dinner.  Guilt be damned!

Pork Chops with Tomato-Bacon Gravy

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 thick-cut bacon slices

4 (1″ thick) bone-in center-cut pork chops (about 10 oz each)

1 tsp kosher salt, divided

1 tsp black pepper, divided

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup beef stock

2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Cook bacon in a skillet over medium until crisp, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes.  Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, set aside. Reserve drippings in skillet off heat.
  • Sprinkle pork chops with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Place skillet over medium-high, add pork chops, and cook in hot drippings until well browned, 3 minutes per side.  Transfer pork chops to an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet
  • Place in the preheated oven; cook until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of pork chop registers 145F, about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place skillet with remaining drippings over medium-high. Add tomatoes and remaining salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered and beginning to burst, about 3 minute.  Sprinkle with flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add stock; stir until smooth.  Reduce hat to medium, and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes.
  • Chop bacon; stir into tomato gravy and serve over pork chops. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

 

Weekly Winner:  Turmeric Turns Pork Chops into Tantalizing Treat.

OK, seriously, when aren’t pork chops tantalizing??  They are, without hesitation, my favorite piece of meat.  When cooked properly nothing can beat it. For some reason, I just haven’t made them much lately and when the hankering took hold over the weekend, I went looking for a new twist on my old favorite.

Turmeric Pork Chops with Green Onion Rice was just what I was looking for.  The dry rub and glaze makes these chops tangy, sticky, and dang delicious.  And with all the touted health benefits of turmeric, and the fact that the recipe comes from Cooking Light, you could make the argument that this is one healthy, life-extending dish. You could make that argument, but you probably wouldn’t win it.  What you will win is an excellent quick, easy, tasty meal.

Turmeric Pork Chops with Green Onion Rice

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 (6-oz.) bone-in pork chops

1 large garlic clove, halved

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 teaspoons oyster sauce

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 bunch green onions

2 (8.8-oz.) packages precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Procedure:

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Rub pork with cut sides of garlic; discard garlic. Sprinkle pork with turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Combine 2 tablespoons oil, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and tomato paste. Brush both sides of pork with half of oil mixture. Add pork to pan; grill 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a plate; brush both sides of pork with remaining oil mixture. Keep warm.

2. Add onions to grill pan over medium-high; grill 2 minutes. Coarsely chop onions.

3. Heat rice according to package directions. Combine green onions, rice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve rice with pork. Serve with lime wedges.

Weekly Winner: Perfectly Picante Peanutty Pork Chops

peanut porkYou know how I love alliteration!  I also love a good peanut sauce as well as pork chops from my favorite butcher shop, Paulina Meat Market.  Therefore, this recipe is a total trifecta of tastiness!  Oops, I did it again.  Sorry.

Anyway, this recipe comes from Redbook Magazine (no really, I do get every magazine known to man!) and it is actually a recipe just for the Hoisin-peanut sauce but the article was on grilling and they showed the sauce with grilled pork chops.  Who was I to argue?  A nice benefit of this sauce is that it is applied after the meat is grilled, so you don’t have to worry about any of it burning on the grill.  The other good thing about serving this on grilled pork chops (if you’re me, that is) is that your husband perfectly grills the chops so all you have to do is make the sauce!

This sauce is spectacular but beware … it is hot.  But its a good hot.  I actually used half of the Sriracha the recipe called for and it was about as spicy as I would want it.  But you do what you want … I am not the boss of you or your taste buds.  Just know that I personally think it was perfect the way I made it … perfectly picante, that is!

Hoisin-Peanut Sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/3 cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts

1 Tbsp minced ginger

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/3 cup soy sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1-2 Tbsp Sriracha (this is the amount called for — I halved it)

Mix everything together and brush on the pork chops a minute after taking them off the grill.  This makes 1-1/2 cups, enough for 4 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops.

Weekly Winner: Playing with Your Food – Easter Pig-bunny

Easter PiggyThis is my husband’s creation.  Not the meal, mind you — I made that.  It was the design and plating of it that was all him.  And proud of it he was.  After all, you do eat with your eyes first, right?  I mean if the food doesn’t appeal to you on the plate, you’re probably not going to enjoy eating it.  So I say go ahead, play with your food! (It also may help to explain why I’ve never felt the need to have children … I already have one!)

Now, back to the dish.  This was our laid-back Easter Dinner.  We didn’t do much for Easter and we generally don’t have the traditional ham.  We were busy with errands and household projects so I definitely was looking for something easy … but festive.  It was a major food holiday, after all.

What attracted me to this recipe for Sautéed Pork Chops with Blueberry Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potatoes in Cuisine at Home Magazine was the picture.  The magazine picture, not my husband’s.  It was different, colorful and included some of my favorite things — pork, blueberries and … oh yeah, pork!  The recipe is simple, comes together very quickly and doesn’t require any fancy ingredients.  For the record (and my integrity – ha!) I’ve included a picture of my plate after the recipe.  You be the judge. And yes, he did add more sauce after snapping the picture.

Sautéed Pork Chops with Blueberry Sauce and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Serves 4

Pork Chops & Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless pork chops, ½-inch thick, halved crosswise, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions:

Sauté pork chops in oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, 2 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate; keep warm. Add shallots to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Deglaze pan with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in blueberries, broth, vinegar, and brown sugar; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until blueberries begin to burst and sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes.

Off heat, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve chops with sauce and garnish with parsley and lemons.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Boil sweet potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender, 10-12 minutes; drain. Return sweet potatoes to the pot, and cook 1-2 minutes over medium heat to dry them out, stirring constantly. Mash sweet potatoes with butter and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Easter Dinner

Weekly Winnter: Glorious, Glazed Pork … with a kick

sweet & Spicy Pork chopsI’ve made no secret of my deep, abiding love of pork.  There is not a cut of pork that I’d refuse, but my hands-down favorite has got to be thick-cut, bone-in pork chops.  A large part of this is definitely due to my deep, abiding love of my butcher shop https://donnasquickqi.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/weekly-winner-an-open-love-letter-to-my-butchers/.

Having divulged all this love, I might as well continue and say that without a doubt, this is my favorite preparation of my favorite cut of my favorite type of meat.  The recipe is Sweet and Spicy Thick-Cut Pork Chops and it comes from Cooks Country Magazine.

Last night I decided it was time to return to basics.  Meat, potato and vegetable.  It has been awhile since we sat down to what I consider a real, Midwestern dinner.  This was it and it totally hit the spot.

Sweet & Spicy Thick-Cut Pork Chops

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
Instructions
1. Whisk cider, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, mustard, hot sauce, and cornstarch in medium bowl. Pat chops dry with paper towels. Following photo 1 at right, cut 2 slits about 2 inches apart through fat on each chop. Rub chops with oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle 1 side of each chop with granulated sugar.

2. Place chops sugared-side down, in large nonstick skillet. Place skillet over medium-low heat and cook until chops are lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Following photo 2, flip chops; add cider mixture, and cook, covered, until center of meat registers 145 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chops to platter. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until liquid is thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

3. Return chops to skillet and turn to coat with glaze. Transfer chops to platter and top with remaining glaze. Serve.