Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pork - Tougher than it looks

Hi all (or it is just me here, all alone, just writing this for myself?),

No self pity here! Especially after these pork chops. I must admit I had some issues with these. Right now I'm working on enhancing my culinary abilities. Ever since I've embarked on that route my end product seems to have declined as a result.

Let me explain. Normally for the dish we see here I'd just throw the pork chop on, boil the perogies, steam the rice and carrots and BAM! done. Well, that is no longer good enough for my sophis-ti-mi-cated palette. I needed to sear the meat perfectly of course, and then with the crusty bits left over create a sauce that was to die for. Of course, this would all have been preceded by a perfect seasoning of the raw meat via salt and pepper. And where have I received all these earth-shattering, ground breaking, culinary ephinanies? The esteemed Alton Brown ( of course and his lovely (but massive) books "I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking" and "I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat X Mixing = Baking". The end result (though no fault of Alton's) was an extremely dry, heavily salted pork chop, with a sauce that was way too thin.

Well it seemed I wasn't doing anything right before. I wasn't bringing my meat up to room temperature, wasn't salting 5 minutes prior to cooking, certainly wasn't using enough salt, and definately wasn't resting the meat on chop sticks afterwards. So what did I do? I salted the life out of my pork chops, seared them to holy heaven THEN put them in the oven to ensure every drop of moisture was cooked out, and then rested them properly (although I'm not sure what good that did considering they were dryer than Sahara!).

So, to not seem embittered, here's what I learned:
1. definately season your meat with salt and pepper 5 minutes before cooking. However, DO NOT use a huge amount of salt. I'm thinking a 1/4 teaspoon per chop would have been perfect

2. searing is enough for porkchops. No need for the oven to finish

3. Preparing the sauce - haven't learned anything here yet. Still working on that one!

Here's some random pictures:


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