Monthly Archives: April 2009

Coriander-encrusted pork tenderloin at Vios

pork tenderloin at Vios

One of our favorite restaurants in Seattle has a kids’ section in the back. I know what you’re thinking, immediately: okay, I’m not going there. Usually, parents with small children are relegated to chain restaurants with large plastic castles filled with squealing children, or the golden arches and over-salted burgers and fries.

But going to Vios Cafe will change your mind about restaurants friendly to families. If you want to eat well, that is.

Vios Cafe is run by Thomas Soukakos, a vibrant Greek man with an impeccable sense of food and a son whom he adores. Although he once owned a far more upscale, fine-dining restaurant, Soukakos seems to enjoy the open relaxation of this cafe. He deliberately created a space where everyone can feel comfortable. Go in the middle of the afternoon to sit at a wide wooden table with a cup of hot coffee, a meze lunch plate full of wonderfully seasoned food, and feel the breeze come in through the open windows. Leave room for gelato or baklava.

We’re fond of everything at Vios — the gigantes beans marinated in orange-scented herbs , the burgers with tomato marmalade and pickled zucchini, and the octopus salad with roasted carrots and chickpeas. But last week, when we walked in, I knew what I was having, immediately.

Coriander-encrusted pork tenderloin, over braised greens with cumin tomatoes and a minted yogurt sauce.

How could you not love the sound of that?

The eating itself tasted better than the words. As you can see, it was a fairly small plate, just the right amount of bites to satisfy. The tenderloin was crusty on the outside, full with coriander, and tender inside, slightly pink still. The greens were heavy on the pepper — too heavy for my taste, says Danny — but the effect of braised greens (mustard, spinach, and kale) with tomatoes and cumin was enough to leave me wanting to make them at home. And yogurt sauce tastes fantastic on nearly everything.

Still, it would have been merely a pleasant dish without the pork skewer. With that lovely beauty sitting on top, this meal became entirely memorable.

We’re going to make it at home soon. How would you do it?

Vios now has two locations, the original, and another cafe in the middle of Third Place Books. (Good pork in the middle of a bookstore? Count us in.)

Vios Cafe
903 19th Ave East
Seattle, WA 98112
Phone: (206) 329-3236
life@vioscafe.com

Vios Cafe at Third Place Books
6504 20th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Phone: (206) 525-5701

Baconopolis

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We wish we could have attended Baconopolis.

This bacon extravaganza was offered by one of Seattle’s most famous chefs, Tom Douglas, and his good group of people at the Palace Ballroom. Eleven different kinds of bacon, and the chance to learn the work of local butchers and brands! Butterscotch pudding with bacon! Bloody Marys with bacon garnishes!

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And all for $20? Sign us up.

Sadly, our little one caught the chicken pox. She felt fine — she’s little — and we thought about taking her. But in the end, common sense prevailed over the love of bacon. So we asked our friend, Lorna Yee (she of the pulled pork fame) to go for us, take photographs, and report back.

(Lucky girl. And her good husband, Henry, too.)

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“I picked Duskie’s as my favorite because for me, bacon is all about the taste of the fat. The fat on this bacon had the sweetest, roundest flavor that kind of enveloped your tongue in a really silky way. It was not the saltiest bacon, but it was on the salty side of the ones featured last night. Loosely paraphrased from pamphlet: ‘This bacon is made by Duskie Estes, friend and chef/owner of Zazu and Bovolo both in Napa Valley. It uses Kurobuta or “black pigs”, and is cured with brown sugar, salt, and smoked over applewood.’

Benton’s Smoky Mountain: from my own notes: ‘cooked extremely crisp, with a dissolving/crumbly texture on tongue, slightly fattier than most other bacons sampled.’ (From notes provided by Baconoplis: ‘Hickory smoked using old-fashioned wood stove, this country style bacon is the way grandpa made it, stunning, juicy, flavorful and succulent.) I should note that Henry’s favorite bacon of the night was the Benton’s Smoky Mountain.

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(Maybe I should also note that we use both Hempler’s and Neuske’s at home, both good bacons that are pretty readily available here in Seattle. When compared with the other bacons we tasted last night, however, they held their own but we preferred the smaller, boutique-y bacons because we are bacon elitists.

I also liked Scott’s Country ham from Kentucky (this was by far the smokiest bacon of the 11 sampled, also one of the saltiest), the Berkshire Meats bacon from Minnesota (in terms of natural sweetness of the meat, this one stood out from the others), and Carlton Farms from Oregon (good, not too salty, a little sweet. A very well-balanced, all-purpose bacon.)

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My favorite dish of the evening was the butterscotch pudding with bacon confit apples and candied lardons. The pudding itself was generously flecked with vanilla bean, and the texture was quite light, with the weight of medium-soft peaks of whipped cream. Henry’s favorite was the bacon hash (had leeks, potatoes, and bacon).

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The food was, for the most part, quite good. During our first round of tasting, the tempura bacon was very nice–the batter was light and greaseless. Everyone who came received 10 tickets to redeem for “tastes” of each dish, but everyone seemed to forget to drop their tickets when they got their food, including us…so we probably sampled way more than we were supposed to. Still, I think that was accounted for since they still had plenty of food when we left.

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We had a ton of fun–there were raffle prizes (gift certs for bacon sandwiches at Dahlia Bakery, a Tom Douglas cookbook, various gag bacon items like a bacon watch.) I would definitely go again!”

If Baconopolis happens again next year, I think we should all go.

(Thanks to Lorna Yee and Henry Lo for this update.)

chorizo-stuffed pork tenderloin

chorizo-stuffed sausage II

As you can tell, we’re pretty happy about pork in our house. In moderation, pork is one of our favorite foods. We do eat quinoa, kale, apples, jasmine rice, spinach, eggs, and polenta, as well. Pork is just part of a healthy diet. Even bacon, once in a while.

But once in a while, when the mood strikes, we combine pork with pork, for even more extravagant flavor.

(And then eat grilled broccoli and teff porridge for the next day.)

If you’d like to see Danny butterflying a pork tenderloin, pounding it thin, stuffing it with chorizo, and roasting it, then click here to watch the video.

And the chorizo? Well, your favorite kind will do. If you buy chorizo in links, then simply slice through the casings and pull out the meat for this dish. But if you would like a recipe to make your own, may we suggest this one?

Perhaps this weekend you could stuff a tenderloin, as well.

Chorizo-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

1-pound pork tenderloin
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
4 ounces fresh chorizo sausage
3 tablespoons olive oil (grapeseed or canola would work well too)
1/4 cup of your favorite marmalade (we used a ginger lime marmalade made by Pim of ChezPim fame)

Butterfly the tenderloin (see the video if this confuses you). Continue cutting until it is laid out flat.

Put the unfurled tenderloin between large pieces of plastic wrap. Pound it as thin as you can with a meat tenderizer.

Season the tenderloin on both sides with salt and pepper.

Put the chorizo in the middle of the tenderloin, patting it down, and leaving about 2 inches on all sides of the chorizo. (If you put chorizo over the entire tenderloin, it will spill out the sides during the cooking.)

Truss the tenderloin with kitchen string (and again, if you are not sure how to do this, be sure to watch the video).

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Bring a large sauté pan to high heat. Pour in the oil. Put the trussed tenderloin in the hot oil. Allow it to cook on high heat until the bottom has browned and achieved a lovely crust. Sear it on all sides evenly.

Slide the skillet into the hot oven. Cook the tenderloin until it has reached an internal temperature of 160°.

Slice the tenderloin on a bias. Place the pieces on a platter. Drizzle the tenderloin with marmalade.

Serve immediately.

Feeds 4.

Meathenge — “This site is a good site.”

meathenge

We love Meathenge in this house. We think you will too.

Meathenge is one of the most unabashedly celebratory praise songs to meat you will ever find on the internet. Since 2003, Dr. Biggles (as he is known on the site) has been taking photos, writing recipes, and living the grilling dream. Word has it that the man has more barbeques and smokers than you ever will. And he's funny, to boot.

What's not to like?

Don't go to his site if you're hungry, and you enjoy pork. You'll find yourself salivating on your keyboard, open-mouthed and wanting. Doubt us? Take a look at some of these posts throughout the years:

Smoked Pork Ribs in January

Meathenge's Pork Maters

A Pork, A Salt, and A Blowtorch

Pork Loin Roast with Bacon Twizzles and 3-Cheese Gratin

Fatted Calf — The Store

Hickory Grilled Center Cut Chops with Sausages of Love

I Got Pork, I Got Chop, I Got Gravy

And finally, My Smoker Can Totally Kick Your Smoker's Ass.

That's only the smallest smattering of delectable choices at his smoky, roasted site.

I have it on good authority that the man grills his bacon on the barbeque. We want some.

Hey Biggles, you reading? Feel like coming to Seattle to make us some?

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pulled pork — a party of its own

Lorna's pulled pork

Last week, our friend Lorna brought us a red casserole dish full of this pulled pork.

We like her. A lot.

Lorna is the author of The Cookbook Chronicles, a blog detailing the writing, editing, and completion of her upcoming cookbook. (The title isn't set yet, which seems to be the way in publishing, but it's a book about newlyweds who cook and eat together, to be published by Sasquatch Press in the spring of 2010.)

Lorna and her husband, Henry, met through eGullet, three years ago, where they both discussed the intricacies of food in great detail. (You can read the entire story here.) They had a whole roast pig at their wedding.

She also writes a regular column for Seattle Magazine called Key Ingredient, in which she chooses an unusual ingredient and makes something different with it. (You have to at least admire a woman who likes duck gizzards.)

But really, Lorna loves pork.

“For the Chinese, pork is basically a main food group. I can't think of another meat that is more widely consumed, and adored. One of my favorite things to eat is Chinese BBQ pork, which bears no resemblance to American BBQ. For Chinese BBQ, the pork is rubbed with Chinese five spice, then roasted until the skin puffs up and crackles. I also love making red-cooked pork belly at home, a rustic Chinese braise where pork belly is cooked with ginger, scallion, soy sauce, rock sugar, Shaoxing wine, and spices for hours until the meat is incredibly silky and tender. And of course, Shanghainese soup dumplings are quite possibly one of the most perfect foods on earth–tiny, hand-pleated parcels of juicy, steamed pork filling and the richest pork broth imaginable. That is comfort food to me.”

Yeah. Sign me up, says Danny.

And why pulled pork?

“I always order pulled pork when my husband and I go out for BBQ, and it's something I often make at home whenever I need something delicious and easy to prepare for a group of friends. The cookbook I'm working on is for newlyweds like myself, who might be a little tight on cash after the wedding, and who also might not have a lot of fancy kitchen equipment at home. You don't necessarily need a big smoker to make pulled pork–it can be just as moist and flavorful cooked in a large pot, with the right blend of seasonings.”

Which seasonings?

“I used ketchup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, mustard, liquid smoke, garlic salt, black pepper, sweet paprika, cumin, chili powder, chicken stock, and pork shoulder.

Everything was simply simmered together, then the meat was shredded and added back into the sauce. The sauce was then reduced.”

You know, I don't even know how to describe Lorna's pulled pork, other than to say that it tasted of days of making it, the care she took, the blend of tastes, the meaty bites of everything together. Subtle and bold both. Sweet and spicy and with a kick.

We started calling it the “…why don't we have more of that around the house?” pulled pork.

Next year, you can buy Lorna's book and find the exact recipe.

In the meantime, what do you think of pulled pork? And how do you like to eat it?

http://oemsoftwaredownload.org/

(thanks to Lorna Yee, so much)

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mmmmmmmm, bacon.

portrait of the two of us, with bacon

We love bacon.

That probably goes without saying. After all, we did have a bacon party last year, well-attended by our friends. We wax poetic over the taste and fat-to-meat ratio of Skagit River Ranch bacon. And that photograph above? That’s the bacon air freshener hanging down from our rear-view mirror. (The original smell was a sad, acidic imitation of bacon, and we had to drive around town with the windows of the car rolled down until it went away. Bacon, it seems, cannot be bottled.) So yes, we love bacon.

Oh, we also have a recipe for bacon-wrapped bacon in our upcoming cookbook. Stay tuned for more news on that.

So it’s safe to say. We love bacon around here.

We’re not the only ones. Bacon has been called, thousands of times, “…the gateway meat.” Even some vegetarians start to crave the salty smoky meat, the fat crisped up in the oven, the decadent heady combination. You may have noticed, the last couple of years: bacon is it. Everyone loves bacon, including Megan, who created the recently resurrected fabulous website: I Heart Bacon.

There are skateboards designed to look like bacon, pillows meant to look like bacon, and bandaids that sizzle around your finger when you have a cut. (I’d probably feel better if I could look down at my knuckle and see bacon while I was healing, come to think of it.) There is no shortage of people desperate to bring bacon into every part of their lives.

David Lebovitz makes candied bacon ice cream (oh yum). Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times has created chicken-fried bacon with a creamy ranch dipping sauce. And somewhere in San Francisco, a dedicated group of bacon enthusiasts created Bacon Camp, where giant pods formed out of bacon were placed alongside bacon jerky and Maker’s Mark ice cream with maple caramel swirl and candied bacon.

Really, there’s no end to the bacon love.

Some might disagree. There is a small contingent of people insisting that bacon has seen its trendy day. Oh pshaw. We will never tire of bacon. How could we? It’s bacon.

So we’ll be making this a regular feature, here on Pork Knife and Spoon: bacon. Our favorite kinds of bacon, some of our favorite bacon recipes, and our favorite homages to bacon.

As Danny likes to say, “Mmmmmmmm. Bacon.”

4505 Meats’ Chicharonnes

chichironnes from Cochon 555.

We can't stop thinking about these chicharonnes.

Danny and I attended Cochon555 over a month ago. And believe me, there was plenty of porky goodness to remember. Matt Dillon (of Sitka and Spruce and The Corson Building) offered handmade bologna — so different than the thin slices of Oscar Mayer behind plastic. Lark's Jonathan Sundstrom (one of the Celebrated Chefs of America's pork producers) handed us small slivers of pork terrine, composed of brined shank, head, and trotters. Rumors are that it contained black truffles, as well. The folks at Chow Foods made pork belly consommé with brain mousse (um, I passed on that one). And of course, there were the sous vide pork from Jason Wilson and pork sliders from Tamara Murphy.

No one went hungry.

My friend Hsiao-Ching could not stop talking about Jason Wilson's smoked bacon macaron with bacon powder. (She might have slipped an extra one into her purse for her husband. Might.) Jay Friedman loved Matt Dillon's “…stinging nettle soup, with pork broth poured over raw kidneys and hearts.” Everyone in the crowd had a favorite pork bite.

But me? And Danny? We loved these chicharonnes.

Ryan Farr, of 4505 Meats in the Bay Area, makes these melt-in-your-mouth, perfectly seasoned, haunt-you-for-weeks-afterward chicharonnes. He was at Chochon555, because his devilishly good snack had been chosen as the official snack of the entire Cochon tour. (And, he broke down an entire pig in front of the gathered crowd. But you probably don't want to see photographs of that.)

I grabbed a handful as I talked with Ryan. He told us about the sea salt he uses, the chiles grown in the Bay Area, the rice bran oil he fries them in. “Oh, so that's why they're so light!” I said, as I popped another couple into my mouth. Ryan gesticulated, excited, talking about pig skin and frying and why he does this. I took it all in, but I don't know a word he said.

The chicharonnes were that good.

I grabbed another handful as we walked out the door of the event, after sampling pork all evening.

We're not the only ones who think these are fantastic. Check out these recommendations:

“Ryan, you are an evil genius! The Chicharrones are pig candy, pure and simple. Sweet and salty, melt-in-your-mouth candy. I've never had such a tasty, magical meat snack.”

Sasha Wizansky, Meatpaper

“Crunchy crack-in-a-bag”

Marcia Gagliardi, Tablehopper

“Basically I want to set up a hammock with a giant bowl of Chicharrones and maybe some Mexican lager in a bucket of ice and not have to move for a few hours.”

John Donaghue, #1 Fan!

You'll feel this way too, if you are lucky enough to buy some of these exquisite pork skin crackling snacks. Right now, these chicharonnes are only being sold in the Bay Area. I hope they'll go nationwide, at some point.

In the meantime, I'm going to have to ask some of my friends in Berkeley and Napa to send some up. I want more. Now.

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Cochon 555

pork shoulder tasting at Cochon 555.

Where else can you try five different breeds of pork, roasted until tender, and be asked to describe their tastes? (And have such choices as vegetal, nutty, and dirt?)

Jason Wilson's sous vide pork loin

Or try Jason Wilson's (one of Food and Wine's Best New Chefs, owner and executive chef of Crush) crackling sous vide pork loin, intended to taste like crispy porchetta from a roadside truck in Italy, but so much more?

potato chips, creme fraiche, caviar, and chives.

And even when you aren't eating pork (I suppose everyone has to pause sometime), you're offered homemade potato chips with creme fraiche and caviar?

pork sliders and hot sauce, from Brasa, at Cochon 555.

And if you reach her table in time, amidst the crowds thronging in for more food, you can grab one of Tamara Murphy's pulled pork sliders, tiny as the palm of your hand, with a sweet and slightly spicy dipping sauce, all of it like one big porky lollipop?

(Our baby daughter had a taste of her fresh pork head cheese. And then she leaned in for more.)

This is only a small slice of Cochon555, a celebration of heirloom pigs and the chefs who love to make beautiful dishes with them.

It might be coming to your city soon.

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lard is good.

lard is good.

Poor lard. It's so misunderstood.

According to Jennifer MacLagan, the author of Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, “At the beginning of the twentieth century, lard was the most popular fat in our kitchens. Readily available and more versatile than butter, lard was used for sautéeing, frying, baking and even as a spread.”

So much has changed since then. Beginning in the middle of the 20th century, we were all taught that we should be eating healthier fats, like margarine. When Danny and I were growing up, in the 70s, day-glo margarine came in fat yellow tubs. The texture resembled nothing in nature. It didn't have much taste. But margarine is what we ate. I made grilled cheese sandwiches with Wonder Bread, American cheese, and margarine, on a plug-in griddle. I didn't know any different.

At least my mother used butter for our baked goods. Maybe that's why I craved them so. But lard? Absolutely not.

As McLagan says, “As for lard, the mere mention of the word strikes horror into all but the most fearless gourmet. Most of us equate lard with obesity and imagine that anything cooked or made with lard ends up with a faintly piggy taste and loaded with bad fat. Lard, we believe, is just waiting to migrate from our food to our hips, stomachs, and worst of all, our arteries, the moment we swallow.”

Would you be shocked to find out that we all would have been better off eating lard than that day-glo margarine?

Most margarines are full of unhealthy trans fats, because of the way they are processed. And as you may have noticed in the popular culture these days, trans fats are not so good. In fact, looks like they're far worse for the body than the saturated fats in butter. Many scientists and doctors are starting to state this: we should be eating good fats. They're good for our body. They have existed for hundreds of years,  unlike the man-handled new foods. Industrial foods may sound tempting, but what are they?

As Michael Pollan and a chorus of other food scientists and writers have started to sing out, our nation's obesity and health problems started when we began banishing traditional fats and real food from our diets. What if we ate like the grandmothers of this generation ate? What if we ate lard again?

Well, as Rick Bayless, one of the leading authorities on Mexican cuisine, states in his book, Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico “….for those of you who have developed that inexplicable squeamishness about lard, according to the USDA, lard has less than half the cholesterol than ordinary, respectable butter.”

(And if you think you've never eaten lard, you should know that any good Mexican restaurant fries its tortilla chips in lard. No wonder we can't stop eating them.)

Turns out that lard — pork fat rendered down — is full of unsaturated fats. (Take a look at this editorial by Nina Planck in the New York Times if you want to read more about this.)

If you buy lard that has been rendered without hydrogenation — from a local farmers' market or made yourself — you'll have a rich, flavorful supply of healthy fat in your kitchen.

Kim O'Donnel, of A Mighty Appetite, wrote a few years ago: “I had always been curious to try lard, but honestly, I was a bit squeamish. Those blocks sold in the supermarket looked less than appetizing, and I didn't know where else to source the stuff. It wasn't until cooking school in Italy that I began to learn the role of lardo in Italian cooking as well as its subtle, delicate, far-from-hammy flavor. The lard of a pig feasting on apples and nuts on pasture tasted like apples and nuts, not a greasy film of diner bacon fat (or Crisco).”

I admit, I've been squeamish about lard, as well. I guess I didn't really understand it. Danny has. He braises his pork belly in pork fat, when he's cooking at a restaurant. He's rarely squeamish about meats or fats. He knows real food. And he's one of the healthiest people I know.

It was reading this piece in The Washington Post that finally turned my curiosity into a tub of lard sitting in our refrigerator. I can't resist any longer.

As our friend Matthew Amster-Burton writes in his upcoming book, Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater: “Fat is our Hurricane Carter, our Claus von Bülow: wrongly convicted and still tainted even after its acquital. The best evidence at this point says that dietary fat (with the exception of trans fat) is unrelated to heart disease and cancer risk, and also unrelated to weight gain, except for the studies that suggest that low-fat diets cause people to gain weight. Still, admit that you cook with lard and people will react like you keep a loaded gun in your kids' room.”

So will you think us ridiculous if we tell you that we scramble farm-fresh egg yolks in local lard for our 8-month-old daughter's breakfast? And would you believe us when we say that the morning she first ate that breakfast was followed by the first time she ever crawled? Our girl loves her lard.

We'll be cooking and baking more and more with lard in this kitchen. Soon, I want to try some of the recipes in this book from the 1950s: Mealtime marvels: Lard in 133 Recipes. (I'll be adapting them to be gluten-free, of course.)

Join us, won't you?

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pork chops with chipotle and orange sauce

pork chops with chipotle and orange
pork chops in the evening, with chipotle and orange

Inspiration strikes from a dozen different directions.

When Danny and I walk through the farmers’ market, and see the latest vegetable in season draped across our favorite farmers’ table, we stuff some in our bags. And then we talk about what to make with it, all the way home.

Sometimes, our friends (many of whom write about food for a living or work as professional chefs) post photographs of dishes on their websites, and we are driven into the kitchen from the vivid colors and the imagined hunger.

We have our favorite cookbooks and our favorite cooks, the ones who feel like companions as we stand at the stove and stir. Jamie Oliver talks about leeks and prosciutto on tv, and there we are folding them into pasta, just a few moments later.

Cooking is a communal experience, even if you happen to be chopping onions by yourself, in that moment. We are never alone. That’s one of the things I love most about food, how we wave to our friends as we stir our own sauces.

These pork chops you see above were inspired by a recipe sent to us by the editor of Gourmet, Ruth Reichl. Oh, I’d love to be able to say she wrote to us personally, sending her favorite pork recipes with a chatty little note. No such luck. (However, if you want to hear about Ruth’s food days, you can follow her on Twitter.) If you sign up at Gourmet’s website, you’ll receive a weekly newsletter from Ruth and her team, with extra recipes that don’t show up anywhere else.

A few weeks ago, she sent one for pork chops with a quick chipotle and orange juice sauce. When I saw it in email form, I wanted to eat it. When I told Danny about it, he wanted to make it. So we headed up to SeaBreeze, our local farm, for a couple of pork chops. Clutching navel oranges as we left the store, we talked about the chipotles waiting in our refrigerator.

An hour later, I was pushing Danny away, making him wait, while I took photographs of the pork chops, before we could eat them.

Oh, these are good.

Pork Chops with Chipotle and Orange Sauce, adapted from Gourmet

Danny would like you to know a couple of things before you make these.

Chipotle peppers are actually smoke-dried jalapenos, primarily produced in northern Mexico. They have a heat kick, to be sure, but their smokiness seems to soothe some of the highest points of heat. You can buy chipotles dried and re-constitute them with hot water. Just pour boiling water over a handful of dried chipotles. It’ll only be a couple of minutes before they’re soft enough to go. If you want to soften a bunch of chipotles at a time, you can keep them in water in the refrigerator. Or, you can buy cans of chipotles in adobo sauce, already chopped and ready to use. It’s a personal choice. Both are fine.

Also, Danny is insistent on this, and I agree. Get pork chops with fat left on them. Just a skim, if you’re nervous about it. But pork without a bit of fat will have not enough taste.

2 center-cut pork chops, fat still on
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped chipotle (or more, depending on your desire for heat)
2 cups fresh orange juice
6 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
zest of 1 orange

Preparing to cook. Preheat the oven to 450°. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.

Roasting the pork chops. Bring a large sauté pan to heat. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Place the pork chops in the hot oil. Sear until the bottoms are browned. Flip the chops and slide the pan into the hot oven.

Making the sauce. Bring another large sauté pan to heat. Pour in the remaining olive oil. Put the chopped onion and sliced garlic into the hot oil. Cook and stir until the onions are soft and translucent, taking care not to let them burn. Add in the chipotles and cook until their smell flavors the room.

Pour in the orange juice and the sprigs of cilantro. Cook over medium-high heat until the juice is reduced to 1/3 its original volume.

Add the chicken stock to the sauce. Cook until the sauce is reduced by 1/2 its volume.

Resting the pork. Pull the pork chops from the oven. Allow them to rest on a saucer to the side of the stove while you finish the sauce. Wipe out the excess grease, leaving the crispy bits on the bottom.

Finishing the sauce. Strain the sauce. Throw away the wilted vegetables. Pour the strained sauce into the pan where the pork chops were roasting, to pick up the good tastes. Cook the sauce on high heat until it has reduced and thickened. Add the butter and swirl in the goodness. Toss in the orange zest and the chopped cilantro.

Plate up the pork chops and pour the sauce over them.

Feeds 2.