Monday, January 31, 2011

this little piggy went yum yum yum yum all the way home

I often buy pork loin pieces (would they still be called chops?) from the grocery store.  I like pork and these are always so pretty.  Nice and lean, pink and shiny - how can a girl resist?  But they're also very thin - maybe 1/2 an inch?  And pork is a toughie because if you cook it too long it gets, well, tough.  But if you don't cook it enough, it's a bad thing.  Not as bad as pork used to be and not as bad as undercooked chicken, but still.  You have to be in a safe range.

Well, tonight I think I solved the mystery.  I cooked up my little pork maybe-chops and they ended up divine.  No real recipe since ATK only has stuffed, smothered or thick-cut recipes.  I actually borrowed the method loosely from a Marion Cunningham cookbook.  She has a recipe for chicken thighs cooked in red wine vinegar that is possibly my favorite food ever.

I made it with a side of spinach, wilting it in the leftover pan juices, and got all artsy and arranged the spinach in a ring around the pork.  It was very pretty.  Too bad I forgot to take a picture. 

It would also be lovely with some couscous.  Maybe let the pork rest on top of the couscous so it'll absorb all the extra juices...  Anyway, on to the recipe.

* Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until it's super hot
* Spray with Pam
* Salt four pork loin pieces on both sides, add to pan
* Leave in place for 3-4 minutes until nicely browned on one side
* Flip over and let brown for about 30 seconds to a minute (the time it takes to fill the measuring cup for the next step)
* Add 1/2 cup (ish) of water and a tablespoon (ish) of red wine vinegar
* Turn down heat a little and cover pan
* Let sit for a little bit, like the amount of time it would take to run upstairs and change into pajamas (I'm just sayin')
* Come back and check internal temperature
* If at least 140, remove from pan
* Let sit for 5 minutes (very, very important - if you cut into the pork too soon, the juices won't get a chance to redistribute and you'll end up with tough meat. plus you need to let the internal temp rise a bit more)
* Shove into mouth

So freaking good. Really moist and tender and richly flavored. Seemed almost like semi-poached pork, but I guess it was a quick braise? Either way, I'm a fan and will be making it often.

3 comments:

Allie (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

Oh that sounds delish!

Christina said...

Do you watch "Worst Cooks in America"? The reason I ask is because last week's episode had a pork dish and the same thing was said about letting the pork rest. It's not something I've ever heard before but you seem to know your way around a kitchen and probably already knew that. Anyway, I ask because one of my friends from high school is on the show and I thought it would be cool if you were watching too. I passed your blog along to my mom and some friends and they are loving the inspiration you offer...so thanks from all of us! :)

Debbie said...

No, I've never seen Worst Cooks. I actually don't have cable, but maybe I'll check it out next time I'm at Allie's house!