Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pork Loin Chops with Pan Sauce

Pork makes a great blank canvas.  This recipe is a great way to color it tasty.

For the chops
8-10 boneless thin cut top pork loin chops
2-4 Tbsp. canola oil
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce 

For the rub
3 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried rosemary or (2 tsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped)
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. fresh ground mixed peppercorns
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

For the pan sauce
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. milk
Juice of 1 large orange
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. coarse ground mustard
1 tsp. chicken base
Additional black pepper to taste

The Method
Mix salt, pepper, rosemary, granulated garlic, mixed peppercorns, lemon pepper, cayenne and paprika in a small bowl.  Apply mixture liberally to top of each chop.  In a large stainless steel frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. canola oil over medium heat.  Place up to 4 chops at a time into pan with rub side down and season other side of each chop.  Add Worcestershire and soy sauce to pan.  Fry for 3 minutes or until nicely browned then flip each chop and fry additional 3 minutes or until browned.  Remove chops from pan and place each chop in a small pan lined with foil.  Add additional canola oil if needed and repeat until remainder of chops are finished.  Close foil over chops and place into 350-degree oven for 5-6 minutes. 

While pan is still hot, remove from heat and add water to deglaze the pan.  After allowing pan to cool briefly, add milk, orange juice, lemon juice, minced garlic, mustard and chicken base.  Whisk over medium heat.  then reduce to low heat.    

After 5-6 minutes, remove chops from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Remove chops from foil and plate.  Add additional juices from foil to pan sauce and stir briefly.  Additional black pepper may be added if desired.    

Serve chops with your choice of rice and drizzle pan sauce over chops and rice.  

Recommended sides:
Sauteed asparagus or steamed broccoli 

Food For Thought
A pan sauce like this is less viscous, less opaque and more concentrated than your garden variety gravy, which you could make from here by combining your sauce elements with additonal fats and starches.  Gravy certainly has a place on the table but sometimes you just want something that feels like it's not so bad for you.  This type of pan sauce may not pair as well with potatoes but is excellent over any type of rice or vegetable.

When frying or grilling meat, the real magic occurs when the meat begins to brown.  When amino acids undergo certain reactions, in the presence of reducing sugars, we get a range of golden brown chemical products which give cooked meats their delicious flavor.  These non-enzymatic reactions are called the Maillard reactions for the early 20th century French scientist Louis Camille Maillard, who first described these reactions while studying protein synthesis.  After your meat is finished, all of the bits of this and bits of that, along with the residual fat you started with, as well as those generated by the cooking process, and anything else you've added, are culinary magic waiting to happen.  Add some liquid to deglaze the pan, whisk it to loosen everything on the bottom of your pan, season to taste and you've got your self a very savory, sophisticated and delicious pan sauce.     


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