Friday, July 25, 2008



Don't tell anybody, but Friday is usually an easy blog day for me because I don't have to sit here and pull something out of thin air to write about. A recipe is easy--it's either already in my head or written down someplace to copy. So this morning, instead of trying to stitch meandering thoughts together into a coherent narrative, I've been totally immersed in music for the past hour or so, acquainting myself with some of the stuff I've been acquiring right and left lately, knowing I like it but never really giving it proper attention. Not a bad way to spend the morning. And I'm glad to learn that my musical intuition has proved accurate!

Today's recipe is a just-about foolproof way to prepare thick-cut pork chops in a way that preserves and enhances their flavor and keeps them moist. They will come out lightly pink on the outside, with a beautifully carmelized crust. The technique is adapted from one of my prime go-tos, Cooks Illustrated magazine. The onions are my own addition, so they're optional; the glaze is a word-for-word lift from the magazine. The whole thing takes less than 30 minutes to prepare from beginning to end, and makes a quick but sophisticated weeknight meal.


You must use your heaviest, most evenly-heating griddle to make this. Cast iron is best. (Before you email me to take me to task for preparing the acid-based glaze in cast iron, I'll tell you now that I do it regularly and get no metallic taste. If your pan is properly seasoned, that won't happen.)

Use bone-in chops. They have much more flavor than boneless.

The amount of glaze is enough for 4 chops


2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved pole-to-pole and sliced into thick half-moons
1 tablesoon olive oil
salt and pepper


1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider or apple juice (or 2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate) 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce


2 bone-on pork chops, 5-7 oz. each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

For onions: place all ingredients in cold cast iron skillet, turn heat to medium, and gently sauté to sweat and soften onions but not to brown. When desired softness is reached, remove onions to a bowl and set aside. Wipe pan clean and return to burner.

Mix all glaze ingredients and set aside

For chops: turn heat under pan to high and spread oil evenly inside. While oil is heating, remove chops from packaging, pat dry with paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is very hot and beginning to smoke in the pan, gently and carefully add the chops. They should sizzle upon contact with the oil. Cover immediately, leave heat on high, and cook without touching for 5 minutes. Some smoke will begin to curl out from under the lid; that's OK. At the end of 5 minutes, remove lid, turn chops (get a load of that beautiful crust!) and quickly pour glaze over all. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, with glaze bubbling rapidy, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove chops to a bowl. Continue to boil glaze until it is thick and begins to coat the bottom of the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Return chops and accumulated juices to pan, spoon glaze over, add onions, and continue cooking a minute or so to heat everything through. Serve.


Peewit said...

Now there's synchronicity. I usually settle down to read my way round the blogs I like about 7 p.m. uk time after I have cooked dinner for the tribe, eaten it and washed up. Tonight we had......
Devilled Pork Chops (as the Modern Crofters cookbook calls it) The chops are coated on one side with an equal mix of Wholegrain mustard, brown sugar and melted butter(and then seasoned) and grilled. Turned over and glazed with the same mixture. . We prefer the Wholegrain to the Dijon as it is a little less fiery for the kids tastes

Anonymous said...

I usually do my pork chops with bacon, using the bacon grease to soften a spanish onion, add water and let them sit on medium covered for 30 mins. Taste great. I'll try this recipe next week as the glaze has me interested.

Ralph said...

Actually, Peewit, the original glaze recipe for this does call for a pinch of cayenne. I tried it once and decided the dijon adds enough heat--the extra pepper detracted from the flavor.

Your grilled version sounds delicious. Do you use a gas grill or charcoal?

Ralph said...

Your way sounds good, too Z&M. I love bacon! Sometimes when I haven't felt like making the glaze I've just used some boxed chicken stock for the glaze and that really good as well.

I guess the 30 minute cooking time makes them extremely tender. For mine you do need a good sharp knife.

Peewit said...

electric grill above the chop not below ( it's part of our oven set up. I have charcoaled them on our barbecue but they didn't really work (Notwithstanding we probably only have 4 or 5 days in the whole year when we can get the barbie out!)

Peewit said...

Oops I missed a bracket out. That's what you get when you are rushing the mail to go and see a BBC documentary on the history of Stax

Ralph said...

Oh! Like a salamander in restaurants, and what would be the broiler in our ovens. I was wondering how you dealt with a wet and sugary sauce like that over fire.

Ralph said...

Peewit: cool! I want to see that documentary!

Anonymous said...

Here's a website for a tribute to Cohen I found. I suppose there are different

variations on this song but this one is really good.

copy and paste in browser.

Ralph said...

Z&M, I'm a great one for wanting to see writers performing their own works, but there are some Great Men whose voices I just could never get next to. Dylan is prime; Cohen's another. Their music has always had to be "translated" for me. Love the man and his music, his voice, not so much. (I know, I know, I'm supposed to appreciate the whole package, the voice comes with the man comes with the music. Call me a shallow voice snob. I cop to it.)

Anonymous said...

You got me confused Ralph. Did you go to the link and see Cohen singing himself????? I thought it was a tribute to his work I was watching, NO??? I never followed his work, remember hearing the song, or songs, but his genius was in the lyrics, I think. The music is nice, but not the million record sales like Dylan etc. Let me know please.

Ralph said...

Yep, the link yiou put up had Cohen himself singing. I think it may be the same tribute movie--I think he does perform in it.

Actually, if somebody else does his songs, they can be hauntingly beautiful. Judy Collins made "Suzanne" famous, of course, and her versions of "Joan of Arc" and "Famous Blue Raincoat" are really pretty. And there's always "Bird On The Wire" by Colljns, too. Leonard Cohen writes some really good stuff--more purely musical, really, than Dylan. he just can't sing worth crap.

Anonymous said...

OK I'll search for artists doing Cohen's work. Thanks for the info.


Ralph said...

I've emailed you some presents to get you started.

Jenny said...

I just tried Z & M's link and it was not Leonard singing, but definitely a sound alike. I love the music of both Dylan and Lenard Cohen. It doesn't take a beautiful voice to make their music beautiful. You might enjoy this link to a video of Leonard's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, with an intro by Lou Reed:

Say, how did the subject turn to this on Food Friday anyway? :-)

Ralph said...

Good question about the subject matter, Jenny! I've been wondering that myself.

Your opinion about Dylan, Cohen, et al is, according to record sales, with the majority. This "nice voice" thing is my own affliction that seems to be part of my DNA.

Ralph said...

And that link, Jenny. Thanks so much for it. It's wonderful. I really do love his way around words and a melody.