Thursday, July 28, 2011

brined pork chops and steamed gailon

I love pork.  I love it more than beef...usually. ;P  Give me bacon, ribs, or a pork chop and I'll be happy.  Sometimes pork chops (the other white meat) can be dry and lack flavor.  Brining pork is an easy way to solve both these problems.

Basic Brining Formula (from Cook's Illustrated, you can also link here)
1 quart (4 cups) cold water + 1/4 cup table salt + 1/2 cup sugar
Use 1 quart of brine per lb of food, brine for at least 30 min. in the fridge

To this basic brining formula I added:
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp peppercorns
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 cloves of garlic, minced

I brined my bone-in pork chops for about 3 hours and when I was ready to cook I removed them from the brine and patted them dry with paper towels.  I cooked them with vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan on high heat to get a quick sear (the chops were on the thinner side so the cooking time was fast).  There's an urban myth that pork should have zero pink however it is safe to eat pork done medium (a little pink).  If you have an instant read thermometer it should read 145 degrees.  However, remember that pork, like beef, increases its internal temp even after it has been removed from the heat so remove it a little shy of the desired temp.

To serve with the pork chops I steamed gai-lan (Chinese broccoli or kale).  I served it with my version of a traditional Chinese sauce served with gai-lan:

Gai-lan Sauce:
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine
1/4 tsp sugar
add water to thin out sauce as desired

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