Pork Loin Chops (Boneless): Ideas
So I received some pork loin chops for christmas as part of omaha steaks delivery. They're frozen and pretty small (around 4 oz. each). Any ideas on how to cook/season these? My only experience with cooking pork is bacon and an occasional bigger full loin.
I'm sure this will get pork lovers a bit riled up, but I find that most pork these days is too lean to be grilled or fried. It just gets so tough and dry. So I actually braise mine! First, season your chops and just lightly brown them, slowly, over less than medium heat. Remove. Then, stir in some sliced onions, garlic, and apples and saute until soft. Add the pork chops back in, along with dried fruit, like apricots, prunes, dried apples. Some herbes de provence or sage is nice here. Thyme, too. Add wine and broth, maybe some juice if you have some, bring to a boil and then cover. Place in warm oven, about 325 or so, for 30-45 minutes until the chops are cooked through and moist. I usually pull them out and reduce the sauce on the stovetop.
Last night we had small pork chops with sauerkraut. I caramelized onions first, then added the kraut to cook for a few hours, as it picked up the pork and onion flavor, I added caraway seeds (about 1 T). Someone on CH had used that in one of their recipes, and it makes a big difference. I love the taste of caraway. Anyway, they were delicious and DH was pretty happy.
If it were spring, I'd be quick to say, "put them on the smoker, 190-220 degrees for two hours." There's not much that tastes better... If you have to cook them inside, season them with sea salt, cracked black pepper and rosemary, wrap them in bacon and bake them at 350 for an hour. Serve them with complimentary sides, such as rosemary and garlic fingerling potatoes (quickly par boil the fingerling potatoes, cut in half, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a pan, high heat, add potatoes).
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I brine mine with a brine from Alton Brown's "I just came for the food" cookbook. Then I broil them. :)
Alternatively, I'll bake them in the oven smothered in BBQ sauce. You just need to not over cook them and they won't be too tough or dry. I usually cut one open to see if it's still pink in the center. It usually takes about half an hour or so depending on if they were cold when I started, or room temp, and if I preheated the oven or not. And of course, how thick the slices are. :)
I'll braise bone in pork chops but carefully...they're so lean they dry out easily even braised. (just braised some bone-in using Molly Stevens for braising with cabbage - very good!)
Boneless we'll usually grill(again carefully so they don't try out). I also like to bread them and bake them(mix bread crumbs, olive oil, herbs, and dijon mustard and use this mixture to coat the chops).
Could dice them up and use in stir fry or fried rice as well...
My new favorite pork loin chop recipe - people lose their minds over this. I got it from "the new basics cookbook". It sounds like a lot of 'sweet' but trust me, it comes out with a beautiful mix of savory and sweet. I tend to double the sauce because you will want to eat it with a spoon:
4 loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup ginger ale
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup slivered crystallized ginger
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
Preheat to 350°F. Sprinkle the pork chops with the ground ginger and salt. In a large skillet that is oven safe, melt the butter and quickly brown the pork chops all over (the smell of butter and ginger is DIVINE), 2-3 min per side and then transfer to a baking dish. Add the ginger ale, fresh ginger, and crystallized ginger to the skillet, and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour this over the chops, transfer to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the walnuts and raisins over the chops (I like to mix them in a little into the sauce) and bake 15 minutes more.
Remove the chops (serving platter if you like) and place the sauce over high heat. Add the cream and cook (deglazing) until the sauce is reduced and thick. Be sure and salt to taste. Pour over the chops and serve.
Again, I double everything except the chops so that my brown rice can soak it all up.
Crystalized ginger is something you buy - candied ginger. Normally find it with nuts and other dried fruits. I'm sure you could do it yourself but I have no idea how and it's not worth it. Candied ginger is readily available at most grocery stores - you'll definitely find it at something like a whole foods or a Trader Joe's if you have one.
I don't braise, I marinate them. Usually I use a bit of teriyaki sauce, tarragon, black pepper and chinese five spice. Then toss on the grill or the foreman grill and cook for a very short amount of time, about a couple minutes each side. If you use the foreman then what ever juices run off can be used to baste the chops. You want them to feel a bit soft to the touch when you take them off, because they will keep cooking. And of course let them rest a bit.
After I wrote the post above, I did a little followup research. The overriding points are these: (1) the reason people have traditionally cooked pork to high internal temperatures is to kill the larvae of the roundworms that cause trichinosis; but (2) it turns out that cooking pork to 140 degrees -- which, in pork, is medium-rare -- kills the larvae, and (3) trichinosis is very, very rare in the United States: between 1991 and 1996 there were only 12 cases in the country. So again: cook pork PINK.