Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops by Rachel

Growing up in an asian household, I had pork often.  Now that I'm making food choices for myself, I try not to indulge in too much pork just to keep my meals low fat and to give myself room for the desserts and baked goods that I love so much, but every now and then, I just want a nice pork chop.  Pork chops aren't always my first choice because if not cooked right, pork chops can be very dry.  I'm not the kind of girl that eats apple sauce with my pork chops so I need my pork chops to be sweet and juicy on their own.  What's the secret?

BRINING.  Brining means that you're marinating the meat in a salty solution overnight.  It traps in flavors into the pork chop and keeps the meat moist.  Know that if you want to make this recipe you will need at least a day because the pork needs to brine OVERNIGHT.

Ingredients for the Brine- Per Pork Chop (I bought two bone-in pork chops that were about 1/2 lb each)

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
canola oil for cooking

- In a large ziplock bag, combine all ingredients.  Swish the liquid around inside until the sugar and salt look dissolved.  It's not a perfect science so no need to wait for it to all melt away completely.

- Add in the pork chops, but be careful not to overfill.  I used a separate bag per chop.  Place in the fridge and allow to sit overnight.

- About 20 minutes before cooking, remove the meat from the fridge and let the meat get to room temperature.

- When you're reading to cook, remove the meat from the brine.  While you don't want to remove all the marinade, shake off some of the excess.  You want the chops to be as dry as possible so that there's good contact with the skillet.

- Using a large skillet, heat the pan on medium high heat for about 5 minutes before adding about a teaspoon of olive oil.  Let the canola oil get hot for about 1 minute in the pan, then lay the pork chops in.

- Do NOT touch or move the pork chops in the pan for 3-4 minutes.  You want the chops to get a nice crust and if you move it before it's ready, it will stick to the pan.

Look at that pretty, crispy chop!
- After about 4 minutes, flip the chops over and let them cook for 4 minutes on the other side.  While I wouldn't ever eat a pork product at medium rare, pork chops, just like any meat, aren't good when overcooked.  When you touch the meat, it's done when there's still a little give in the center.

- Remove the chops from the pan and let rest on a plate for about 10 minutes.  Then DIG IN!

I served them with some very simple roasted potatoes, but if you want to be a little healthier, make yourself a simple salad.


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