Pork Chops

Other Cooking Tips

Do your pork chops and steaks tend to draw up on themselves? Mine do, but I have the solution. Cut slits along the fat side toward the meat. There is a tendon that runs along the edge of the meat. It contracts more quickly that the meat when the heat hits it, bringing the rest of the meat with it. If you cut it, that will prevent the curl. 2 or 3 slits will do the trick.

Some ask why we leave such a thick layer of fat on our pork chops. We do that because fat is a good thing, at least in the case of properly raised meats. In the case of pork, it profiles just like oleic oil – think olive oil here. The bonus is that it is very tasty when cooked. But if you remain in the Dark Ages about the necessity of fat in a healthy body, just trim it after cooking. At least you will get some of its benefit in the jus.

Eat well to live well!

Recipe: Pan-Seared Pork Chops

If you have read the JVF Simply Simple Cooking Book, you know that it is a beginners’ guide rather than a recipe cookbook in the traditional sense. It is meant to give you some ideas about the principles of cooking and turn you loose to give it a try. From there you can expand to more elaborate methods. So here is one of those elaborations brought to us from Shannon Hayes, a friend and correspondent from her farm in New York. While I haven’t tried it, I only need see the ingredients and method to know it must be delicious. Use it for any of the pork chops or medallions found in your cooler.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops

Serves 2-4

This recipe is taken from my most recent cookbook, Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Guide to Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies, and Living Deliciously. I never had very good luck turning out a consistently juicy and tender pan-cooked pork chop until I came across this technique, adapted from Bruce Aidell’s Complete Book of Pork. Now I have success every time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in pork rib or sirloin chops, 1¼-inches thick
  • 3 large cloves fresh garlic, 1 minced and 2 peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, 2 melted, or 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 cup Meat Broth
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Blot the chops dry. Stir the garlic, thyme, black pepper and salt into the melted butter. Brush this on the chops and allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. Put the whole garlic cloves and broth in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer until the garlic is soft and the broth is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Meanwhile, heat a skillet that is large enough to hold two pork chops without crowding them over a medium-high flame.
  3. Add the remaining butter or lard and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chops and sear 2-3 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook 2 minutes longer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. The chops should still be sputtering. If you don’t hear this sound, the heat is too low, and your chops run the risk of sweating, which causes them to dry out. Once you hear a gentle sizzle, cover and cook until the chops reach an internal temperature between 145-to-160-degrees, depending on how done you like them, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chops to a platter and allow the meat to rest while you prepare the pan sauce.
  4. Using a fork, thoroughly mash the softened garlic into the reduced broth. Return the skillet to a medium flame. Pour in the garlic reduction and bring it to a simmer, gently scraping up the browned bits from the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by one third. Stir in the bourbon, simmer a minute more, then whisk in the mustard and cream. Pour over the chops and serve.

Recipe: Steaks

Here’s a good way to cook your steaks (NY Strip, Ribeye, Tenderloin medallions, skirt, flank, hanger) and pork chops (bone-in or out).

How to Cook a Steak

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil and butter
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed black pepper
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp minced shallots
  • Parsley
  • 1-2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Skillet

Directions:

  1. At least an hour before you are to cook your meat, pat it dry, add salt and pepper, and let sit out to bring it up to room temperature.
  2. Cover the bottom of the skillet with oil and heat on the stove at high heat until the pan starts to smoke. Add the steak to the pan, and let sear until you get a nice medium/dark brown crust. Flip the steak, and sear the other side. Turn down the stove to medium heat.
  3. Turn the burner to lowest setting, add the 2 T., parsley, garlic, and shallots to the pan, and cover the skillet. In about 2 minutes, stir the sauce you have made and spoon it over the meat. Remove from burner and leave covered for another 5 minutes.
  4. When you plate the steak, dress it with the au jus, butter, shallots, garlic, and parsley from the pan.