All Aboard the Pork Chop Train

ONLY THREE INGREDIENTS on this train. Seriously choo-choo chill man. Climb on board and marinate your chops with half the marinade in a ziploc bag for whatever time feels right—a day if you remember, and 10 minutes if you don’t. Everything will still be awesome at the end of the line.

That math works for me! My chop’s passenger ride was 6 hours—went out for a long lunch, flipped the bag when I got home for another few hours, and the result? The chops were so juicy, the flavor so salty-sweet-acidic-perfect, I was ready to blow the engine’s whistle!

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These pups were supposed to be grilled on medium heat according to Bon Appétit’s recipe. But the outside temps barely broke 20 degrees and the wind chills were in the single digits. So I turned to Plan B, a good sear in a cast iron skillet, then a finish in a 425 degree oven, which the directions below bear out.

When ready, trash the marinade then dry and season the chops with salt and pepper. After searing in a super hot skillet for 2 minutes per side to get a good outer crust, brush them with the remaining half of the marinade you reduced. Throw the cast iron skillet in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes until the chops clock in at 145 degrees. Then tent with foil and let them rest for 5 minutes so the juices redistribute.

Well now we needed a simple side dish to complement the Asian flavored pork chops, so I concocted this pretty simple rice recipe. With just a few extra minutes, this dish only takes a bit longer to make than regular, plain rice, but it’s so worth it. Incorporating a few more ingredients makes all the difference in the world. Garlic, of course, adds extra flavor, but the ginger, sesame oil and soy sauce are really the stars here, along with using chicken stock instead of water, always my preference. Finally, stir in a handful of chopped scallions at the end to brighten the flavors and add a pop of color. (Recipe below.)

Ingredients

  • ¼ Cup soy sauce
  • ¼ Cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. dark or light brown sugar
  • 4 thick bone-in pork blade or rib chops (we only cooked 2 chops)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt

Directions

  • Stir soy sauce, vinegar, and brown sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Prick pork chops all over with a fork and place in a large resealable plastic bag.
  • Pour in half of marinade, seal bag, and turn to evenly coat pork chops, save remainder.
  • Let pork chops sit at least 10 minutes, or chill up to 1 day (cover and chill remaining marinade too).
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove pork chops from marinade; discard marinade. Pat chops very dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper.
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  • Put the remaining marinade in a sauce pan on medium-low and reduce down to about half.
  • Oil a large cast iron skillet until very hot. Place in chops and sear 2 minutes each side.
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  • Place skillet into preheated oven for about 8 minutes until chops register 145 degrees. Tent with foil for 5 minutes.
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Asian Rice Pilaf

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Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup jasmati rice
  • 1½ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 2 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 4-6 scallions, chopped
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
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  3. Stir in rice and sauté for another couple of minutes.
  4. Stir chicken stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper into rice mixture.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender.
  7. Stir in scallions right before serving.
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