Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Maple Mustard Pork Chops

I have been trying to expand my knowledge in the kitchen. And also the flavors of things we eat. We eat pretty standard. Chicken breasts with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, maybe some Emeril’s Essence and then throw it in the oven until done. Or there’s been a lot of “Helper” recently. I recently discovered it isn’t terrible and Steve’s been capitalizing on how much we eat it. Or if we defrost hamburger and then can’t figure out what to do with it besides tacos it’s Helper time. After I took down the holiday decorations I was finally able to unpack our recipe books because I finally had a place to put them (the piece of furniture my parents got me for my birthday). I was really excited, because I am discovering that I do like to cook. And it also got a few more boxes out of my basement haha.

Either way, we had defrosted some pork chops and I was trying to figure out what I’d make with them. I sat down with my breakfast Sunday morning and pulled out some books. I was looking for something easy (i.e. beginner level) and semi-quick because I was just not in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and away from my couch. I ended up pulling a recipe out of Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meal book. Maple-Mustard Pork Chops.

OHH MMMM GEEE. Maple and Mustard. My favorites. COMBINED.

I didn’t even really read the recipe before I had decided to make it haha. But I did before I jotted the ingredients down on my grocery list. It wasn’t a hard recipe, but I decided that even though she was using a griddle pan (which I have, but it’s a pain to clean, that I was going to use a regular frying pan and then finish it off in the oven like she does. I didn’t need grill marks). I also decided to nix the grilled apples. Nothing against them, I just didn’t really feel like having them and they were the veggie in her recipe so I just decided to go with something different as a veggie. No big deal.

They were really simple to make and they were amazing. Steve was very impressed with me because this is probably the most “different” thing I’ve made. He’s usually more daring than I am in the kitchen.

Anyway, here’s the recipe –

* 1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup
* 1/4 cup, spicy brown mustard
* 1/4 cup apple cider
* 1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon allspice
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I would actually use less next time because I thought it was very overpowering)
* 8 center cut boneless pork loin chops, 1-inch thick
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
* Grill seasoning blend or salt and pepper (I used McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning)
* 3 golden delicious apples, sliced across into 1/2-thick inch disks

Preheat grill pan or nonstick griddle pan over medium high heat. Preheat electric table top grills to high. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine maple syrup, mustard, cider, onion, allspice and cumin in a small saucepan and cook together over moderate heat for 5 minutes until sauce begins to thicken a bit.

Coat chops lightly in oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook chops on hot grill pan or indoor grill 3 minutes on each side. Baste chops liberally with sauce, cook 2 or 3 minutes more.

Transfer chops to a baking sheet. Baste again with sauce and transfer to a hot oven to finish cooking them. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Wash apples but do not core or peel. Coat apple slices with a drizzle of oil. Season with grill seasoning or salt and pepper. Cover grill pan or indoor tabletop grill with as many pieces of apple as possible. As the apples get tender, pull them off and replace with more slices. Apples should cook 3 minutes on each side, you don't want them too soft, just tender. (I didn’t do this because I just didn’t want apples, but I might do it next time. And also the whole wash but don’t core or peel step gets me because HOW are you supposed to SLICE them if you don’t core them? Figure that one out.)

Platter chops with apples along side and serve.

Like I said, this was a really simple recipe and next time I’ll probably bust out the indoor grill we have and make the apples on the grill. I didn’t feel like lugging it up from the basement where it is currently stored and I didn’t felt like they wouldn’t taste the same if I did them in a frying pan. But really? I was being kind of lazy.

Either way? I can’t vouch for the apples, but I can vouch for the pork chops. They were amazing. I might consider making this a marinade next time but I’m not sure. I definitely will not use as much cumin because I felt like that was way overpowering. But if you like it then go for it. I just didn’t appreciate that I tasted more cumin than maple and mustard. But that’s just me.

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