Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weekend Treat

Work has pretty much exhausted the last ounce of energy I have this week but I'll fight off the laziness tonight and somewhat post a full recipe! Pork chops was rarely a dish cooked at home. Pork scares me really. Growing up with the idea that all kinds of bacteria and yucky things live in pork until they are cooked to rubber was implanted in my brain for years. My pork dishes are usually braised or stir fried.. easy enough for me to fully cook tender pieces of pig without it tasting like you were eating a flavored piece of shoe.

During a recent dinner out with C, I rebelled and fought my mental urges to just order the steak and decided to try the pork tenderloin. Pork is technically safe to eat at 145 degrees F (so I've read..!) but recipes usually call for cooking the thing until at least 160F. Me, feeling daring that night ordered the dish 'medium'. Needless to say I was rudely awaken in the middle of the night to spend a weeknight in my bathroom.

So here's my attempt at pork chops. Brining was a technique I've used once on a roasted chicken. It turned out pretty good but alas it's chicken and I'm not much of a fan. I brined the pork chops in mixture of water, chicken broth, lots of salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic cloves. The chops bathed in the brine for only 30 minutes since they were quite thin.

While the pork was sitting in brine I prepped the potatoes. The potatoes were cut into equally sized portions, tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, few cloves of unpeeled garlic, rosemary and a pinch of a rub I had made for ribs a few weeks back (mostly paprika). The potatoes were wrapped up in a sheet of foil and sent to bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes at 400F. I opened the foil when the potatoes were done and let them sit in the warm oven to crisp up while I prepared the rest of the meal.

After 30 minutes, the pork chops were taken out from the fridge so they could warm up to room temperature before cooking. I do this with all my seared meats so they cook evenly. Olive oil was heated in a pan over medium to medium-high heat depending on your stove. Added a large pat of butter and begun searing the chops. If the butter starts to foam then the pan is ready. If the butter starts to brown immediately then the pan is too hot (which usually calls for me to start over). I flipped after about 3 minutes and then removed the pork from the pan to set aside.

The second side dish was supposed to be a simple saute of mushrooms and garlic. What started out as a side dish turned out to be the star of the meal. A little more oil was heated on the pan used for the chops at medium heat. Added another large pat of butter. The caps were laid top side down and left to brown for a few minutes. The mushrooms need to be left alone. If you stir them up too quickly their moisture will release and you will end up with a watery mushroom mixture.

After the mushroom caps were browned nicely, I shook the pan to flip them around with some chopped garlic. Now the next appropriate step would've been to add a splash of wine to deglaze the pan. Since the only bottle of anything I had was Jack Daniels, I used that.. hoho! Another yet another large pat of butter was added and I let the sauce thicken into a rich dark glaze. Once ready the mushrooms along with the glaze was poured onto the pan fried chops.

No longer do I fear making dried out jerky pork. The meal was quick, simple and delicious and will become a regular dish on my menu.

1 comment:

Yvo said...

Ooh, that looks good!
BTW, a friend of mine (if it means anything, she's a doctor) told me that pork can't hurt you now because of all the things that are done to it before it reaches your table. Cases of trichinosis are extremely rare nowadays and are more from the mishandling of pork as opposed to undercooking. And if you're really worried, I've read that soaking your meats in milk for a few minutes before you cook them helps because the bacteria can't live in milk. Or something. (I've eaten pink pork by accident before - slightly more rare than I'd have liked - and lived to tell the tale, but I understand the fear. I was poisoned on bad ham before and still won't eat ham.)