Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inaugural Pork Chops


This is recipe salutes two uniquely special “Historical Firsts” within 1⁰ of separation of one another.  The election victory of Barack Hussein Obama II as the 44th and current President of the United States of America, and the Rick’s Picks Pickle that solidified a company,and started it all, Windy City Wasabeans.

The connection: Both got their known professional starts in Chicago, Illinois! Barack’s political career began in the Illinois State Senate.  Windy City Wasabeans are an idea and moniker realized by Rick and his Brother during a visit to the brisk winds of Chicago.  Kismet!

Hail to the Chief and Windy City Wasabeans!  Neither is to be underestimated.
The Windy City Wasabeans at first sight are often misunderstood as a spicy “wasabi” pickle.  To the contrary, the earthy wasabi-soy brine imparts a subtle smokiness into these surprisingly addictive and crispy, pickled green beans.

To celebrate the 2012 United Stated Presidential Election and this year’s upcoming Rosedale Pickle Festival on Sunday, November 18 , where Windy City Wasabeans are a Best in Show First Place Alum, I had an idea. 
I decided to make Pork Chops. 

Pork Chops can be tough.  No pun intended.  There is a delicate line between cooking perfectly unctuous, succulent and flavorful pork chops, and well, dry over cooked ones.
BUT, never Fear, your new go to recipe for tender and luscious chops is here!

Queen Elizabeth has her Coronation Chicken Salad. We have our Inaugural Pork Chops.
Windy City Wasabeans:  Inaugural Pork Chops

Yield: 4 Servings

The Ingredients
Four (4) bone-in pork chops (just shy of 1lb. each, approximately ½ - ¾” inches thick)
1 Jar of Rick’s Picks Windy City Wasabeans (brine and garlic bits drained and reserved to the side, cut 10 pickled string beans across into thirds, set aside)
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
1 Tbsp. of Sweet Paprika
1 ½ Tbsp. of Hot Sesame Oil (Regular Sesame Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil or any combination thereof is Acceptable)
2 Stalks of Lemongrass (Optional)

The Method: Marinade
Thoroughly rinse pork chops to clean.  I didn’t, but feel free to trim excess fat. Add Chops to a gallon sized zip lock bag. Add ½ cup of Windy City Wasabeans’ brine to the chops inside the zip lock. Take one of the reserved brined garlic cloves, mince, and add to the marinating pork chops. Place zip lock into a medium bowl, and place into the refrigerator. Marinate 4 hours to overnight.

The Method: Cooking
Preheat Oven to 425⁰F

Remove pork chops from brine. Blot chops with a paper towel to remove the excess brine/marinade moisture, set aside.
Generously season both sides of each pork chop with Kosher Salt and Sweet Paprika.

Heat hot sesame oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking.  I used a 12” cast iron pan. Sear the first two (2) pork chops on their first side until crusts are golden, four (4) minutes.

As a bit of a trick for not trimming the outer layer of fat from the chops, using tongs lift and stand the chops of their sides in the oil to brown the edges.

Flip the pork chops, and sear for an additional two (2) minutes more on their second sides. 

Transfer the pork chops to a waiting plate placed near your pan searing station.

Repeat the searing process with the two (2) remaining pork chops.

Here you can either add the reserved pork chops to the pan, and immediately begin roasting the chops, or do as I did, and make a make shift bed out of a couple stalks of lemon grass that we happen to have lying around.

Either way, add the reserved pork chops to skillet, and transfer to the preheated oven. Roast each until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 145 degrees, approximately four (4) minutes. Remove from the oven.
Let chops rest in pan for 5 minutes.

The Secret Weapon of Hunger Destruction: Windy City Wasabeans Brine Pan Gravy
As the pork chops begin to rest remove the lemongrass from the pan, toss. Turn the flame up to high. Deglaze the pan with the remaining reserved Windy City Wasabeans brine. Whisk the sauce as it begins to boil and thicken, add reserved cut pickled string beans. Allow gravy to reduce by half. Pour over rested chops. Amazing richness and taste ensues.

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