Video: Make perfect pork chops, 3 ways
Recipe: Easy pork chops
- 4 bone-in pork rib or center-cut chops, about 7 ounces each and 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 inch thick, patted dry with paper towels and prepared
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar
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. Place chops, sugared-side down, in 12-inch nonstick skillet. 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). 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 F 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.
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.
In this recipe, "natural" pork chops — not "enhanced" — work best; the liquid injected into enhanced pork inhibits browning.
Electric burners are slower to heat than gas burners, so, if using one, begin heating the burner before seasoning the chops. When cooking the first side of the chops, use color as an indicator of when to flip them; to determine doneness, use an instant-read thermometer — do not go solely by cooking times.
Serve these simple pork chops with chutney or applesauce, or try one of the variations.
Recipe: Crunchy baked pork chops
- Table salt
- 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
- 4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1/4 cup plus 6 tablespoons unbleached
- All-purpose flour
- 3 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Lemon wedges
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Dissolve 1/4 cup salt in 1 quart water in medium container or gallon-sized zipper-lock bag. Submerge chops, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Rinse chops under cold water and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Meanwhile, pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have about 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with parmesan, thyme, and parsley.
Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tablespoons flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops. Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of chops registers 150 degrees F, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.
This recipe was developed using natural pork, but enhanced pork (injected with a salt solution) will work as well. If using enhanced pork, eliminate the brining in step 1. The bread crumb mixture can be prepared through step 2 up to 3 days in advance. The breaded chops can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don't need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time in step 5 to 35 to 40 minutes.
Recipe: Cider-braised pork chops
- 6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup apple butter
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped
- Fresh parsley
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees F. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chops in 2 batches, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, flour, and 2 tablespoons apple butter and cook until onions are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cider and thyme, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and bring to boil. Add browned chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise until chops are completely tender, about 1½ hours.
Transfer chops to serving platter. Strain sauce, then use a shallow spoon to skim off fat. Whisk in vinegar, parsley, and remaining apple butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table.
Make Ahead: Chops and sauce can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. To serve, heat sauce and chops together over medium heat until chops are warmed through.
Do not use chops thinner than 1 inch. In step 3, a fat separator makes quick work of defatting the sauce.
© 2013 NBCNews
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