Yesterday I wrote about my dismay over the cost and quality of dinner. Recall we paid $147 for a plate of chicken, a plate of pork and some soups. Well, in response today we cooked in. (I should note that I purchased my groceries at Bristol Farms, the nouveau Nordstrom of grocery stores. The cost of the raw ingredients was near that of a nice dinner).
Anyway, tonight we had citrus brine-infused pork chop with spiced apple chutney (for starters, I made homemade French onion soup which was also pretty amazing). The key to a good pork chop is prep. Because the meat itself has so little fat, its important to infuse plenty of salt, flavor and juices ahead of time. I made a brine (which is basically saltwater) of water, apple juice, brown sugar, thyme and black peppercorns. Soak the pork in the brine inside a Ziploc bag in the fridge for about two hours. More than two hours and the meat can start to get mushy as the acid in the brine goes to work too hard on the flesh.
After soaking in the brine, remove the pork and pat it dry. Heat up your oven and get a hot pan going until the olive oil starts to smoke. Sear the pork about 4 minutes per side, then roast in the oven until it hits about 150 degrees in the center. While this is happening, take the drippings pan and melt some butter, then saute some diced apples, raisins and thyme. Deglaze the pan with more apple juice and simmer until reduced.
When the meat is done, remove from the oven and place on a plate tented with foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Never, NEVER cut into meat to check for doneness. Rely on your timer or push on the top. A jelly like response means pretty rare, and as it firms up you'll approach medium. You can easily ruin a well cooked steak by cutting into it too soon.
So, it was a great meal and I'll continue to tweak it.
Another rant: I've decided that Bed, Bath & Beyond sucks for a kitchen store. They have lots of gadgets and gimmicky versions of real equipment, but they never seem to have normal, practical items. They have a ton of that "Good Grips" stuff which sucks. I was looking for ramekins, which they surprisingly didn't have. I ended up going to Williams-Sonoma for that, and I'll be shopping there from now on.