As a child, I always knew when dinner was ready because the smoke alarm would sound. Running downstairs, I’d be greeted with a shriveled up piece of cremated pork chop about the size of a 50p coin. Having hacked my way through it, I’d spend a substantial amount of time chewing and chewing and chewing before digging my nails in my hand and swallowing with an eye-watering wince. I could never understand why my mum couldn’t just cook it properly. As a mother myself now, I would consider it was probably because she was so bloody busy multi-tasking three kids and all that goes with it!!
This recipe turns things around for me – no more” tough as old boots” pork chops. If you do the preparation beforehand while the kids are at school, you can juggle all the cooking in the time it takes the kids to watch two episodes of Charlie and Lola. This week, my family enjoyed a succulent dinner that had just the right combination of golden crusted, tender meat accompanied by the most perfectly balanced juice. I share with you now, my pork chop recipe, as a “hats off” to all those mummies in Hong Kong who are trying their best to do it all.
6 (1-1.5 inch thick) on-the-bone pork chops
Ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into approx 1-2cm cubes)
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley (keep a sprinkle separate for decoration)
1.5 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
Seasonal vegetables (pea shoots / bok choy)
Plain white rice
Adapted from Chowhound
Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chop at least one hour prior to cooking so that the juice that is extracted by the salt, has time to re-absorb back into the meat. Alternatively, add the salt and pepper to your pork chops immediately prior to cooking with no rest time. To learn more about salting meat correctly, check out my blog on 7 Steps To The Ultimate Steak. Cut into the sides and tops of the meat to help with the cooking process.
Drizzle some olive oil around the pork chops when both sides are done and place the oven-proof pan straight into the middle level of the oven. I had to transfer our pork chops into a baking tray because our pan was too small but this is not a necessity for the recipe.
Now, it’s really important that the pork chops are cooked to just the right point. Otherwise the meat often becomes dry and chewy. The pan-frying process, the efficiency of the oven and the variables surrounding every cut of meat, culminate to mean that following a recipe purely by time, cannot consistently offer an accurate result. So, our family uses a SuperFast Thermapen digital cooking thermometer ($838HKD including FREE delivery) to ensure the meat is removed from the oven at exactly the correct internal temperature. I removed the meat when the internal temperature of the meat reached 145F. Place your thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. If you don’t have a thermometer, then time-wise, you’re looking at testing around 4-8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the pork chops on a plate, loosely covered with tinfoil. This resting period allows the meat to retain more of its juiciness when you later cut into it. Again, the importance of resting meat is highlighted in my blog 7 Steps To The Ultimate Steak.
Now it’s time to make the sauce. Pour white wine into the pan whilst cooking over a medium/high heat and scrap off any remaining browned bits of pork (deglazing). Cook on a medium/high heat until it has reduced in volume by half.
At the same time (don't worry - you're good at multi-tasking), in a new wok or high sided frying pan, cook your vegetables in a little oil. Julienne or roughly chop some garlic and fry until lightly browned. I opted for fresh pea shoots but any seasonal vegetables can be substituted for example bok choy is an excellent choice. Or make the meal more kid friendly and fry some thinly sliced root vegetables. Turn frequently over a high heat until cooked (approximately 3 minutes). Pour on a generous amount of chicken stock for extra juiciness and flavour. Then add a lid and simmer on medium / low heat. Steam in the chicken stock for approximately 5 minutes and then add some oyster sauce as needed.
By now your sauce should have reduced by half volume, so remove the sauce from the heat. Add your butter cubes (which are at room temperature) one at a time and stir in until dissolved. Add the finely chopped parsley (save a sprinkle for decoration) and stir in. Add Dijon mustard and stir in until completely dissolved. Finally, add a small amount of salt and pepper as required and stir.
Include some plain white rice with this meal and drizzle the sauce over the meat and the rice. To make it kid friendly, compact the rice firmly into a thoroughly cleaned toy that offers an interesting shape and pat out like a sandcastle. Finish it off with a small sprinkle of parsley purely for decoration around the edge of the plate or across the pork chops and rice. Alternatively, mix some chopped parsley in with the rice just before placement. If your kids hate "green bits" then exclude the parsley.
I hope that you enjoy this simple, quick meal as much as my family did. Before I sign off, I invite you to visit our shop and check out the widest range of digital cooking thermometers in Hong Kong. Our entry level digital thermometer sells for an awesome price of just $168 including FREE delivery. Or learn more about the best selling SuperFast Thermapen 4 thermometer and cook like your favourite celebrity chef!! www.peekconcepts.com
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