If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Double Cut Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Butter and a side of Stir Fried Asparagus and Mushrooms

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat.  It accounts for 38 percent of meat production worldwide.  You’ll have trouble finding it in the Middle East and most of the Muslim world because both Jewish kosher and Islamic halal diets ban it outright.  But almost everywhere else on earth including Asia, Europe, and the Americas, pork is in recipes and on menus everywhere.  Nowhere comes close to China which, at any given moment, has 1 billion pigs on its farms. 

In the mid 80s, in the US, the National Pork Board called pork “the other white meat”, advertising so successful I wish I’d written it myself:  87 percent of consumers identified pork with the slogan.  And still do, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used since 2011.  It might come as a bit of a surprise to know first, that the USDA considers pork a red meat and second, that the only real reason the Pork Board jumped on the white meat bandwagon was the public’s perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat.  It is true that Pork, with its fat trimmed, is leaner than most meats but certainly not chicken or turkey.  And even the ‘new’ leaner pork is still high in cholesterol and saturated fat. And as any good cook will tell you, fat is a flavor carrier that’s hard to replace.  But chefs have found a way to amp up pork’s flavor.  They brine their pork.  But I had never tried it until recently.  And I am here to say, I am a convert.  I recently brined what we jokingly referred to as ‘a side of pork’, chops so enormous they must have been almost three inches thick. And the results were spectacular.

The brine brought flavors to the pork that I’d never tasted before.  I should likely add that I don’t often use the spices called for here.  I can’t remember the last time I used Juniper Berries and Fennel seeds don’t get much of a workout in our kitchen.  The chops were exquisitely seasoned, the garlic came through along with a hint of Rosemary but the excitement was the juniper and fennel.  The original recipe called for pan frying alone but I’d had such success with Melissa Clark’s admonishment to finish chops in the oven (see http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2014/02/cooking-school-melissa-clark-and-alex.html), that I switched cooking methods and ended up with a beautifully roasted chop—tender as can be, not dried out in the least.  The accompanying Roasted Garlic Butter was the icing on this particular cake.  With this sizeable piece of meat, we served a simple stir fry of asparagus and mushrooms. Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, this couldn’t be a simpler side to prepare.   The only time involved here is the overnight marinade the chops underwent.  Making the brine was easy. I roasted the garlic for the butter in the toaster oven.  And here was a company-worthy dinner, a really manly one, if I do say so myself.  These double chops are easy to cut yourself from a bone in pork loin.  I got mine at Costco. But any good butcher should be happy to provide you with what you need. Here are the recipes:

While the Pork is in the oven, prepare the side dish.



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