The Perfect Pork Chop

Well, we’ve been putting off cooking the pork chops because 1) I just haven’t felt like cooking and 2) cooking pork is always such a demoralizing experience. Husband and I have been arguing lately about terribly overcooked meat, but we’d gone through the ground turkey, the grocery store pink kielbasa, the really thin steak, and the chicken breasts. I would have turned to the frozen ground beef of last resort, but it was a freezer brick. What can you do?

Go online.

I usually expect pork dinners to fail, so I jazz them up with a marinade in advance. It makes me feel like I am contributing in some way to the flavor of the meat, and it gives me an excuse to get pissy later during my disappointment. After all, I can tell myself, I seasoned the meat perfectly. I’m not the one who cooked it too long. Tonight, Husband had gone golfing and I really thought I was going to get away with not cooking the meat for one more day, but he’d cut his outing short and pulled out the pans.

A couple searches led me to the Boston Chef blog with a great hook. Yes! I always fall for the pork loins at the grocery store! Yes! They always fool me with their symmetry! Tricksie they are, those stupid pork chops. The story brought me into the meal, and the seasoning kept me there. Plus there was this fancy trick with an oven-safe pan. You fry, and then bake, and then add alcohol. What could go wrong?

Nothing. This was a great meal. I’m so relieved to salvage this food, because one does like variety. I was a little surprised at how quickly what I thought was a bucket of wine evaporated in the pan after I removed it from the heat, but there was no real need for more sauce than we had. The drawback was that the only oven-safe pan I have is an omelet pan, so we could only cook two porkchops at a time. Not a big deal, really, because Fella and Filly had hot dogs to eat. However, the second batch came out a little worse than the first. I think the pan, which had been baked for a while, was too hot and the browning for three minutes on the first side was too long. I did compensate by only browning the second side for thirty seconds and then baking it for about eight minutes, but it was still a little dry. Another downside is that the pan left kind of a mess on our stovetop, which is one of those white solid state ones that shows every scuff. I think most of the damage was done while stirring the wine to make the sauce (the pan jiggled and scraped), but I’m pretty sure the bottom of the pan brought some crap from the oven rack to the stove top. I don’t clean my oven, you see, because it is a 35-year-old piece of crap that is too small for a cookie sheet and deserves to be punished.

Husband did an excellent job seasoning it, with some lemon pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, and some red pepper powder (not flakes). It was only a teeny bit spicy, and it was enough to remind you that the pepper was there but not enough to freak out a baby. By baby I mean an actual baby, not a food pussy.

Sadly, because this was a half-assed menu plan, we did not serve it with couscous or asparagus spears. We had warmed up ball carrots (frozen and then microwaved in the first place) and some leftover spinach linguini. Fella and Filly enjoyed their Hebrew Nationals and Goldfish Crackers immensely.

So the question now is how many times we can eat the perfect pork chop before getting sick of it. Habituation is a drag.

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