Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Perfect Pork Chop

I wanted to make a special dinner for my husband tonight. I called him and asked him if he could have anything in the world to eat - what would it be. This happens pretty regularly, so he tries to mix it up. He requested Scalloped Potatoes and a Pork Chop. Usually I delight in the challenges he presents me. Not this one.

He was raised on this meal. He luuuuves his pork chops. Me, on the other hand have never met a pork chop I liked. My Mom made pork chops all the time when I was growing up but they were waaay over cooked and took 25 minutes to chew 1 bite - stupid pork chops...

I have recently learned the importance of premium meat. So, first thing first. I went to my local organic butcher and bought 2 pork chops. Premium pork chops baby. Since I have never cooked a pork chop in my life, I did some research. I googled "how to cook pork chops" and read on several different sites - several different methods/ideas and I settled on this one on Wikihow HERE. I edited the verbage and didn't use rosemary as in the original recipe.

The Perfect Pork Chop
Pork chops
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
Chicken Stock

Use a heavy pan - cast iron, anodized aluminum, or a good stainless steel pan is best. Non-stick pans will suffice, but they won't give you as good of a crusty caramelized exterior.
Heat the pan on the stove top on medium high. Season the chops with salt and pepper.
Add the oil. Don't add oil to a cold pan.
Add the chops gently. Be careful not to splatter yourself with hot oil in the process!
Leave the chops alone for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the edges of the chops start to come up slightly from the pan, it's time to flip the chops. DO NOT use a fork, only use tongs or a metal spatula. If you try to flip too early, the pork could be stuck to the pan and tear, making the pan very hard to clean and ruining the caramelization.
Cook the chops on the new side until the edges come up from the pan, like before - about 5 minutes.
*MY NOTE You can tell they are done with the "touch test." They should be firm. If you are unsure, use your knife and make a slit in the middle of the chop to make sure it is no longer pink.*

When they are done, take them out of the pan and set aside on a warm plate.
Add some water, wine, or broth to the pan and scrape up the browned bits on the pan. This will deglaze the pan. The liquid will boil shortly and begin to evaporate off. In cooking terms, this is called "reducing". In fat guy terms, this is called "making gravy". Once the liquid has boiled almost all the way off, you'll notice a new sound. Now is your time to spring into furious action!
Grab a couple pats of butter and start swirling the liquid around the pan to combine. Add the chops back to the pan with the juices that have run out. Flip the chops and coat the other side.

*MY NOTE Make sure you drizzle that delicious pork chop with that heavenly gravy.

So, Mr. Pork Chop Expert finished his dinner and said "Top 3 best meals I have ever had in my life" TOP 3!! AND guess what! I ate that pork chop with all that delicious gravy and thought to myself - Oh. My. Gosh! Where have you been all my life!?! AND all 3 of my kids loved them. I am officially adding pork chops to the Vietti household 'regulars'.

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