Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Perfect Pork Chop

I have never made a perfect pork chop. Until now. The recipe I used came from the March issue of Cooks Illustrated Magazine. And now it's yours FREE!!!
Ahh the advantages of visiting MIXED SALAD ANNIE!

Basically, most people including myself overcook pork chops. Cooks Illustrated came up with a technique that "sort of" prevents this from happening. I say "sort of" because you could still overcook them if your not careful... I almost did. (I'm still trying to master a new electric stove).

The trick is to quickly sear one side, then finish over low heat, gently simmering them in a glaze.

You start by using boneless pork chops,5 to 7 ounch each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Preferrably 3/4 inch, because the thinner the chop, the more chance you will over cook them.

The Glaze:
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice (I didn't have any on hand, so I used
chicken broth with good results)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
pinch cayenne

4 boneless center-cut or loin pork chops,5 to 7 ounch each about
1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Combine all glaze ingredients in medium bowl; mix thoroughly and set aside. Trim chops and slash through fat and silver skin with sharp knife, making 2 cuts about 2 inches apart,in each chop(do not cut into meat of chops). Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in heavy bottomed 12" skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. (I did 4 minutes). Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet. (Check internal temperature of thinner chops; see note below*). Return chops to the skillet, browned side up, and add glaze mixture; cook until center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes (I did 5 minutes).
Remove skillet from heat; transfer chops to clean platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

3. When chops have rested, add any accumulated juices to skillet and set over medium heat. Simmer, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2 to 6 minutes. Return chops to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over top. Serve immediately.

*NOTE: If the chops are already at the 140-degree mark, remove them from the skillet and allow them to rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes, then add the platter juices and glaze ingredients to the skillet and proceed with step 3. If your chops are closer to 1 inch thick, you may need to increase the simmering time in step 2.

Ok I have a confession. Although I said I made the perfect pork chop, I sort of lied. My chops registered 160-degrees on the instant read thermometer. But for me this is perfect.
Most of the chops I have made in my life were more like shoe leather than meat.

So in closing, my chops were slightly overcooked but remained somewhat juicy and for the most part tender. I liked the glaze. It was tangy and a little sweet, but not overly sweet. I would definately try this recipe again.

Let me know if you try the recipe and how it works out for you.

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