February 13, 2011
Our regular readers are probably aware that I'm a big fan of pork chops sauteed in a pan and served up with a flavorful sauce of some sort, most often a fruit-flavored one. I've cooked a lot of recipes like that, and made up more than a few. There are a lot of good way to serve up pork chops with sauces based on apples, oranges, cranberries, peaches, plums, apricots and so forth, but recently I made up something a bit more unusual. The latest pork chops I cooked up had a lime sauce.
Lime is a sort of an unusual flavor for pork chops, but it goes pretty well with pork in general. Lots of Asian recipes combine pork and lime juice, and it's common to top Mexican pork dishes, such as tostadas, with a squeeze of fresh lime. I love the combination, which is what led me to make a lime pork chop recipe. Better yet, ginger and lime go great together, so this would provide another opportunity for me to use that favored ingredient.
I often prefer to go with thin pork chops, since they cook up quickly, but sometimes I'm in a mood for something meatier, and on those occasions, nothing hits the spot better than a nice, thick chop. This time around I cooked up some inch-thick chops. Thick chops take longer to cook, but they're worth it due to the great flavor.
The recipe itself is pretty straight-forward. The chops are sauteed until they're done, then transferred to a plate and tented with foil. Shallots and ginger are then fried in the same skillet, then liquid is added, both to deglaze the pan and, in this case, to provide yummy fruity flavor. Finally, a bit of butter is added to help flavor and thicken the sauce. The sauce is then served with the pork chops, and spooned on as desired.
These chops turned out great. They were such good chops - perfectly browned on the outside, juicy and tender inside - that they would have tasted great with no sauce at all, but they were even better with the sauce. The sauce was both savory and a bit tart, with the lime and ginger flavors notable but not overpowering.
This recipe was a success. Most of the time I'll probably still go with fruits other than limes when I want to fry up a pork chop, but the lime sauce makes for a nice change of pace.
Pork Chops with Ginger-Lime Sauce
yield = 4 servings
4 inch-thick, bone-in pork chops
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon
1 large shallot, minced
2 teaspoons fresh, peeled and grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon thinly-sliced scallion greens
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels, then season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat two teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is just starting to smoke. Add the chops to the skillet and brown on one side, 3-4 minutes.
Flip the chops over, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook the chops until the centers of the chops read 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with foil.
Add one tablespoon of oil to the skillet, return heat to medium-high and heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan, scraping off any browned bits. Stir in the lime zest and juice and simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in any juice the pork chops have given off, then turn heat to low and stir in the butter. Serve the pork chops topped with the sauce and a sprinkling of scallion greens.
The Pork Chops with Ginger-Lime Sauce weren't the only fruit-flavored part of this dinner. I used the occasion to revisit my recipe for Zucchini with Chili-Orange Glaze. Once again, these slices of zucchini cooked up great in my grill pan, and topped with the sweet-hot glaze, this is one vegetable side dish that held its own with the main dish.
I rounded out the meal with some Middle Eastern couscous. Middle Eastern couscous (also called Israeli couscous) features somewhat larger granules than the more common Mediterranean couscous. I prepared it using a recipe on the package. The uncooked couscous is browned, then set aside in a bowl. Then some onions and seasonings are fried in the pan. Next, water and chicken broth are added to the pan and boiled, and the liquid, onions and seasonings are poured onto the couscous. After stirring, the bowl is covered with plastic wrap. After the couscous has absorbed the liquid (a bit over 20 minutes), some lemon juice is stirred in and it is ready to serve. The slight hint of lemon made the couscous go along great with the chops and the zucchini.