Saturday, November 11, 2006

Asian Pork Chops

from Cook's Illustrated

This is a great, and quick, way to cook boneless pork chops. Be very careful not to overcook them; I would definitely err on the side of having them underdone, because as they rest, they continue to cook. --Pamela

If your chops are on the thinner side, check their internal temperature after the initial sear. If they are already at the 140-degree mark, remove them from the skillet and allow them to rest, tented with foil, for 5 minutes, then add the platter juices and glaze ingredients to the skillet and proceed with step 3. If your chops are closer to 1 inch thick, you may need to increase the simmering time in step 2.

Serves 4
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1/2 cup rice vinegar , plus an additional 2 teaspoons
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops , 5 to 7 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1. Toast sesame seeds in small dry skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes, set aside in small bowl. Combine all glaze ingredients except 2 teaspoons rice vinegar in medium bowl; mix thoroughly and set aside. Following illustrations below, trim chops and slash through fat and silver skin with sharp knife, making 2 cuts about 2 inches apart in each chop (do not cut into meat of chops). Pat chops dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1 minute longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet. (Check internal temperature of thinner chops; see note above.) Return chops to skillet, browned side up, and add glaze mixture; cook over medium heat until center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; transfer chops to clean platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes.

3. When chops have rested, add any accumulated juices to skillet and set over medium heat. Simmer, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel (heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze), 2 to 6 minutes. Add remaining rice vinegar and return chops to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over chops. Garnish chops with reserved sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

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