Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pork Chops ala Julia Child

Don't you just love that feeling of extreme satisfaction when recipes turn out successfully? Well, Julia Child's masterpiece, MtAoFC, is really proving to be a real treasure on my bookshelf (next to my treasured Neil Perry's The Food I Love). Here are two simple recipes for pork that I tested out a couple of times over the last month since we were getting tired of our usual old standby (marinated in self-improvised "char siew" marinade and grilled). The pork chops tasted simply wonderful - fragrant, buttery, savoury and oh-so-tender. Lovely!! The recipes are reproduced here for the benefit of a dear friend W who has recently had to cook a lot more than she used to!

Salt Marinade with Herbs and Spices (per pound of pork)
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground thyme or sage
1/8 tsp ground bay leaf
Pinch of allspice (I skipped this)
1/2 clove mashed garlic (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together and rub them into the surface of the pork. Marinade for at least 2 hours, 6 even better (I have tried 30 min before and it works too). Before cooking, scrape off the marinade, and dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels.

Casserole Sauteed Pork Chops (for 2 - 3 chops, about 1 inch thick)
Preheat oven to 325F (160 deg C). Dry the pork chops on paper towels (important: if the chops are not dry, they will not brown as they will end up steaming / poaching instead). Heat some cooking oil in a casserole and brown the chops on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. As the chops are browned, transfer them to a side dish.
Pour the oil out of the casserole and add 1 tablespoon of butter (with 1 halved clove of garlic,if you like). Return the chops to the casserole, overlapping them slightly. Baste them with the butter. Cover and heat the casserole until the meat is sizzling, then set in lower third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Arrange the chops on a hot platter.

I served the chops plain and was perfectly happy. However, here's how to make a simple sauce from the cooking juices.

(For 2 - 3 chops) The chops will have rendered about 1/2 cup of juices during their cooking; remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat. Pour in about 50 ml of dry white wine OR brown stock OR canned beef stock and boil rapidly, scraping up all coagulated cooking juices, until you have about 50 ml of concentrated sauce. Taste for seasoning and pour it over the chops.

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