Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy Pork Chops

I found this recipe in an article which really should be called "Pork Chops for Dummies" in a Cook's Illustrated Magazine.  I haven't read many Cook's Illustrated issues so I have no idea how to identify which issue I found it in.  This magazine doesn't seem to use a date or a number.  Regardless, I have been searching for pork chop methods and recipes for a while now.  I was lucky to find this excellent method while flipping through the Cook's Illustrated.  It works great even if you are making the pork chops with a special sauce or glaze.  It really helps to make the chops juicy rather than dry like pork chops can often be.  Pork chops have so little fat that it is very hard to keep them from drying out.  Please give this method a try.  Cook's Illustrated does lots of research.  This method was a success for me.  The boys loved these chops.  Towards the end of cooking these, I used a prepared glaze rather than make the gravy suggested in the recipe.  

Easy Pork Chops
Serves 4

4 bone-in or center-cut chops, about 7 ounces each and ½ to ¾ inch thick
Patted dry with paper towels and prepared according to instructions below
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
Salt and ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sugar

1.        If using electric stove, turn burner to medium heat, Rub both sides of each chop with 1/8 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle one side of each chop evenly with 1/8 teaspoon sugar, avoiding the bone.
2.       Place chops, sugared side down, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet, positioning the chops as noted below.  Using hands, press meat of each chop into pan.  Set skillet with chops over medium heat; cook until lightly browned, 4 to 9 minutes (chops should be sizzling after 2 minutes, if not, raise the heat to medium-high).  Using tongs, flip chops, positioning them in same manner.  Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook until center of each chop registers 140 degrees on instant read thermometer, 3 to 6 minutes (begin checking temperature after 2 minutes); chops will barely brown on second side.  Transfer chops to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes; do not discard liquid in skillet.
3.       Add any juices accumulated on platter to skillet.  Set skillet over high heat and simmer vigorously until reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 30 seconds to 90 seconds, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.  Off heat, return pork chops to skillet, turning chops to coat with reduced juices.  Serve chops immediately, browned side up, pouring any remaining juices over.

Cooks Illustrated

Step-By-Step: Cooking the Chops

1.        Cut two slits about 2 inches apart through fat and connective tissue.
2.       Place pork chops in cold pan with bony ribs facing center.
3.       Rely on temperature, not timing, to judge when chops are done.