Apr 7, 2010

Upgrade the chop

Sometimes you find a beautiful cut of meat and just have to cook with it right away.

Enter the pork chops.

Yeah, I know...big deal. "It's just pork chops!" But aren't they lovely?

We made these on a brisk Wisconsin evening, so they had to be cooked indoors. I decided to give my cast-iron grill pan a rest, and broke out the Emerilware pan instead. The cooking process was pretty basic, really. A small amount of vegetable oil in the pan, heated to medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the chops, and cook for about 7 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches about 160 degrees (you are looking for 165 degrees, but the meat should continue to heat up for a few minutes while resting).

To accompany these bad-boy pork chops, I steamed some broccoli. Not rocket science. But a small twist: orange zest. It scents the broccoli in a subtle but noticable way, and adds some brightness to the veggies on the plate. It's also a great way to add aroma and flavor but not add "American flavor" (a.k.a. SALT).

Allright, so we've got some chops a'grilling, and some steamed broccoli on the side. Something is missing. We need an upgrade. A great way to make any type of mediocre event better--wine.

We had this tart and tasty cranberry wine which my dad had brought over. There was half a bottle left. Perfect. (I have this thing for cranberry wine, especially ones made in Wisconsin...more on that in another post)

I put the wine in a pan on medium heat until it started to reduce. It probably simmered for 10-15 minutes, until it was so thick that it could be described as a syrup instead of a reduction. The consistency was perfectly clingy. A tart but sweet sauce to top the chops with. Pork chop upgrade: complete!

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