Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pork Chops with Orange Sauce .. or .. How I Got Burns On Both Hands

This is a tale of a yummy meal, and the pain I'm still suffering because of it. The local Ralph's had a sale on a mega-pack (8) of thick cut (~ 1.5 inch) boneless pork chops, and they looked really good so I bought them. They sat in my fridge for several days while I thought of what to do to them (and I got sick, still am, so they sat a little longer), but they were still good. I took half of them and placed two each into freezer bags. Once sequestered in the freezer, half of my problem was solved. Now this first step could be skipped. I marinated them for ~30 minutes in a mixture of soy sauce, honey, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, pepper, and toasted sesame oil (any oil would do, olive is recommended). I don't think the marinade contributed much to them, but a longer soak might have.

While they were soaking I made the sauce/glaze. In a small sauce pan I combined the juice of two oranges, the zest of one, 2 teaspoons of sugar, a splash of apple cider vinegar (rice wine would do too), and a splash of soy sauce (salt and water would do too). I brought this to a boil and reduced to a simmer till it thickened up.. 15 minutes later I think. It really came together quickly at the end, so check on it. It will definitely get thick.. coat the back of the spoon or thicker. If it gets too cool it may become too thick. If so, add a little water and reheat for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly till it loosens up and the water combines with the orange glue.

Preheat your oven to 425ish. Place a large skillet on the stove. Add some oil and a pat of butter. Heat till it starts smoking. Pat the pork chops dry (even if you didn't marinate) and salt and pepper them. Place in the skillet for 2-3 minutes, flip, and let them sear for another 1-2 minutes. Place into the oven for ~12 minutes until done (I use the poke test). Remove from the skillet onto a plate and cover with foil for ~5 minutes. Place on a place and cover with sauce/glaze. Eat. Yum.

How I burned both hands: Skillets in the oven are hot. When I removed the skillet from the oven, three of the pork chops were done, but one still felt a little under done. I removed the three, and in the process of trying to decide if I wanted to cook the fourth more, I went to steady the skillet by grabbing the handle with my right hand. Ouch.. the side of my index finger has a nice blister now. So after running it under cold water for a bit. After tending to it I went to put the skillet back in the oven. Being left handed I went to grab it with my left hand. I now have a burn mark on my left palm, although it hasn't blistered. I placed the skillet back in the oven for 2 minutes, and all is good.. except for the pain.

The good news from all this is the pork chops were excellent, as was the sauce. Also, when putting the skillet in the oven, always use protection when dealing with the skillet (a lesson I should have learned the last time I burned myself).

Pork Chops with Orange Sauce

Marinade (optional):
1 cup soy sauce
2T honey
lots of ground pepper
1/2t cayenne pepper
1/2t chili flakes
2T oil (toasted sesame or olive)

4 1 1/2 inch boneless pork chops
1T olive oil
1T butter

Orange Sauce:
2 oranges, juiced
1 orange zested (use one of the juices oranges for zest)
2t sugar
splash of apple cider vinegar
splash of soy sauce

If marinading, combine ingredients in a gallon sized zip top bag and shake to combine. Add the pork and marinate for 30 minutes to 8 hours, the longer the better.

In a small sauce pan, combine all the orange sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer/barely boil (I went back and forth) till thickened.

Preheat oven to 425

Remove meat from marinade of packaging and pat dry. Salt and pepper both sides. Place large oven-safe skillet on stove and heat over medium heat. Place oil and butter in pan and heat till they begin to barely smoke. Add the pork chops and sear for 3 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 1 minute. Place skillet in oven for ~12 minutes until done. Remove pork chops from skillet and let rest for ~5 minutes. Cover with sauce and serve.


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