As always, this is the “anti-recipe,” a chronicle of my kitchen adventures. Like pretty much all the stuff you’ll see here, this is my original dish. Today, for an extra thrill, I’m making it up as I go. That’s the standard approach in my kitchen, and it works for me to operate without a map or a net.
A thrill a minute around here, I tell ya.
You’re gonna need:
pork chops, with the excess fat trimmed off
vegetable oil (avoid olive: it scorches too easily)
dark brown sugar
red currant jam
Leave the pork chops out of the fridge for a good half an hour to let some of the chill out: they won’t brown nicely if they’re still icy cold. Sprinkle them lightly on each side with seasoning salt. Sparingly oil the bottom of a deep, heavy pan, and let the pan heat up over medium heat.
Brown your chops throughly on each side. Be careful not to crowd the pan; mine are pretty hefty, so I had to brown them one at a time. While all this fun is happening, chop half an onion into really thin slices, and smash and chop four cloves of garlic. If you’re staying home, use six cloves.
As your porkchops finish browning, lay them side by each in a 9×13″ pan and let them rest. You can preheat the oven to 350 degrees if you want. After all the chops are in the pan, sprinkle the onion and garlic over top.
In a deep container, place a fist-sized lump of dark brown sugar. Remember that I measure against my very small fists: don’t over do it. Pour a 6 count stream (1-2-3-4-5-6) of balsamic vinegar to the sugar. Add a quarter-sized spot of salt, and then crank your pepper liberally over everything. I counted 25 cranks on a fine setting, and it seemed a suitable amount. Toss in a bit of parsley. I used about a ping pong ball’s worth of the green stuff.
Add a big scoop of red currant jam. Mine is true jam, with pieces of fruit in it. I suppose you could use jelly instead, but the texture would be quite different. I scooped a big spoonful that toppled off the spoon once it was out of the jar.
And then I licked the spoon.
Get a new spoon and mix it all together. You will have a thick paste that’s a bit lumpy. Pour in the gingerale s-l-o-w-l-y and mix it gently as you go. I can’t emphasize the importance of being patient with this step. If you don’t take your time, you will be a sad, sticky little person.
I made a wee mess. It’s just another day in my messy little life. Aren’t you glad I shared that photo? Now you won’t feel so bad when you get sticky foam all over your counter too.
Pour the sauce over the meat, onions, and garlic, and fire them into your 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Then, turn it down, flip the meat, and cook it for another 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Baste or flip it about every 10 minutes to keep it moist and happy. It’s going to get browner as the sauce cooks down. As the colour goes up, so will your excitement to devour these things.
Remember those neighbours? Open the window as these bad boys are baking and make your neighbours jealous. My neighbour has a meat smoker on his deck. I owe him a few.
At the end of the cooking time, pull your pan out of the oven and leave it to relax for a few minutes. The sauce would be fantastic over rice or mashed potatoes. You can also enjoy it by slurping it up through a straw.
I’m going to eat my pork chop alongside some lovely white rice. I’ll probably also have a fresh salad with tomato and avocado on top. Delish.
Go make this, and then have me over for supper. I’ll even help you with the dishes.
copyright 2011: http://bluespeckledpup.com