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Not All New Tricks are Tricky

I’m just a basic American male when it comes to diet.  I usually keep things pretty simple and anyone that has read my food posts understands that.  But there are only so many ways to cook the basic steak, pork chop and chicken breast.  Living in the South lets me enjoy using the outdoor grill year round, still I sometimes wonder what else can I do with this piece of animal flesh I want to prepare for supper.   As such, I frequently browse the food pages of various sites looking for something different.

It was on such a day a few weeks ago that I found a recipe that promised “Tender, Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven”.  Ok…I’ve baked / roasted pork chops before but this could be interesting.  And, the challenge with pork is getting it cooked sufficiently to ward off Trichinella Spiralis (a topic for another day) without being left with a dry hockey puck of a chop when you’re done.  While easily accomplished, it doesn’t take much to over cook pork.

The answer to this age-old issue in this recipe:  Brining.  Duh!  I know people brine all sorts of things and I know that brining has become popular again.  I just never got around to doing it.  Until now.  So simple, so easy and so delicious.  And, as the recipe title promised, these were truly “Tender, Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven”.  So…here we go:

This was so easy and so quick. But when done, they were so flavorful and so juicy and so good.  Whew!  Give this one a go!  The full recipe can be found below, along with the link to the site where I found it.

IMG_2551Brine the chops.  I used minced garlic as opposed to smashing 2 cloves.  I felt it would bring out more flavor overall.  I also did not have peppercorns, so just used regular black pepper.  And, my bay leaves were pretty old, so I did not use those either.   So much for following the recipe!

 

While the chops were brining, I heated the oven to 400°F and put my skillet in to heat up.  Taking the chops out of the brine after about 45 minutes, I patted them dry and brushed a little bit of olive oil onto each one.  When ready, I pulled the skillet out of the oven (using an oven mitt of course) and placed it on the stove top on medium high heat.  I arranged the chops in the skillet and seared one side, about 3-4 minutes.

Turning them over, I immediately placed them into the oven.  I let them cook for about 8 minutes.  Turning them over, I was a bit disappointed that the “flip side” had not seared as well as the first side.  As you can see in the photo below, the flip side did not have the same look.  While I love the taste and texture that a good sear provides, it had little effect on the overall flavor.  Visually, though, I made sure to plate these seared side up.

IMG_2556

We only had green beans for a side dish as the kids told me nothing else, no potatoes or rice that night or salad or fruit.  Ok, I can do that.

As I said, this was so easy and so simple.  This is a recipe that lived up to its name.  I have posted several recipes over the years that were new to me but none as simple as this.  As I’ve come to learn over the years…Not all new tricks are tricky.

I used 4 boneless center cut pork chops.  This recipe below pretty much a copy/paste from the site where I found it, which is here:  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-cook-perfect-pork-chops-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-194257

Ingredients

For the brine (optional):
3 cups cold water, divided
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
Optional flavorings: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf

For the pork chops:
2 to 4 pork chops
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Equipment
Shallow dish (for brining)
Large cast iron, stainless steel, or other oven-safe skillet
Tongs

Instructions

  1. Brine the pork chops:  Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, add the salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Heat the oven and skillet: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Place the skillet in the oven to preheat as well.
  3. Season the pork chops: While the oven heats, prepare the pork chops. Remove the chops from the brine; if you didn’t brine, remove the chops from their packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the chops aside to warm while the oven finishes heating.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven: Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Turn on a vent fan or open a window.
  5. Sear the pork chops: Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the undersides of the chops are seared golden, 3 minutes. The chops may start to smoke a little — that’s ok. Turn down the heat if it becomes excessive.
  6. Flip the chops and transfer to the oven: Use tongs to flip the pork chops to the other side. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven using oven mitts.
  7. Roast the chops until cooked through: Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops, how cool they were at the start of cooking, and whether they were brined. Start checking the chops at 6 minutes and continue checking every minute or two until the chops are cooked through.
  8. Rest the chops: Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

 

 

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2017 by in Cooking, Food, Life and tagged , , .

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