Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The pork chop has a really bad reputation. Often cooked to death until all that is left is a burnt dry mouthful of sawdust. Dry pork is disgusting but it's not the pork chops fault. It's the human that thinks it's okay to commit chuleta de cerdo asesinato (pork chop murder). Look, as long as you're not buying your meat from a shady back alley pork vendor (or grocery store factory farm) you don't have to worry about getting sick if the pork isn't cooked to 170F degrees. Here's a trick that can be very forgiving on your lack of cooking prowess. Brine the meat over night and then if you slightly over cook the pork it will still be juicy. Brine is easy. Equal parts salt and sugar (1 cup) and enough water (1 gallon) to cover overnight.
The next day after brining I made a rub of smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, allspice and salt and pepper. I then added a little olive oil to turn it into a paste. The bone-in pork chop was coated in the spice mixture and marinated for about 2 hours. I put a saute pan over medium high heat and cooked the pork chops about 4 minutes per side until just cooked through (or until you reach a little under 150F). Let the meat rest after cooking. It should be removed from the hot pan and covered with foil and left the hell alone for a minimum of 8 minutes. Cutting into meat that doesn't rest will bleed out all of the delicious juiciness inside. Resting the meat allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat making it juicy and tender. To the pan with all the yummy brown pork bits I added a little chicken stock and butter to release the fond (stuck brown bits) and make a spicy yummy sauce.
For a side dish I made a potato and zucchini galette. It's super easy. With a mandolin (if you don't have one, go buy one) slice the peeled yukon gold potatoes and zucchini into super thin discs. In a saute pan, rub the bottom with butter to keep the galette from sticking. Make an overlapping spiral layer of potato. The an overlapping spiral layer of zucchini. Then lightly season with salt and pepper and sprinkle a thin layer of grated manchego cheese. The a layer of potato, then zucchini, etc until the saute pan is full. Sprinkle bits of butter over the top and bake at 350F for about 40 minutes. Stick a knife into it to make sure it's cooked all the way through. Cover the pan with a plate and flip it out onto the plate. Delicious and impressive. Cut out slices like a pizza pie and serve with the tasty smokey pork chops. Enjoy. xoxo