Saturday, April 19, 2008

Côtes de porc poelées: And the tragedy of the other white meat

The other white meat is dry and tasteless, as everyone who cares about the taste of pork knows now, except Big Pork. And I live in Iowa, the largest pork producing state in the USA. When they bred out the fat, the bred out the taste, and texture too. Shame. But what to do?

In the last few years a few Iowa producers have met the white tablecloth restaurant demand by producing "heirloom" pork. Very expensive and slow to order. But often available from the crunchy granolas at Wheatsfield. It's heaven, cooked very slowly. And fairly forgiving even when it's cooked quickly, as it's full of fat (love alliteration). But there's no getting around it takes more than 10 minutes.

But what to do quickly? Tender juicy pork chops in 10 minutes flat?

Yesterday at Fareway they had a cut of pork I've never had: pork rib eye. Cut from the small end of the loin. Marbled, just like a beef rib eye. It's seasoned with pepper and Cookie's at the store. So tender you can flatten them from their inch thickness to 3/4 inch with your palm. Little five-ounce boneless beauties for a dollar each.

So now it's possible to make Julia's Côtes de porc poelées (MAFC I 366) in 10 minutes flat, and have deep pork flavor in a fork tender boneless chop.

Serves 2

2 five-ounce boneless pork rib eye chops, flattened to 3/4 inches.
1 tablespoon olive oil or bacon drippings
[Optional vegetable garnish: zuchinni in 3/8 inch slices, asparagus, crinkle cut carrots, etc.]
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (cheap is fine)
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup red or white wine
1/4 cup balsamic roast gravy (see my boef a la mode recipe on this blog)
  1. Heat a large skillet on high. Pat dry and season the chops (if they are not already seasoned)
  2. Add the oil and saute the chops for four minutes (and the optional vegetables)
  3. Turn the chops and cook another four minutes (and the vegetables as necessary)
  4. Remove the chops to a plate and cover (and the optional vegetables as necessary)
  5. Add the vinegar and honey (or wine and gravy) and stir rapidly, scraping up all coagulated juices. Reduce slightly over high heat. Taste for seasoning and pour it over the cops and serve


Côtes de porc Nénette (MAFC I 387)
  1. Complete steps 1-3 of the master recipe above.
  2. While the pork is cooking, beat together 3/4 cups whipping cream or crême fraiche, one and one-half teaspoons dry English mustard, and one tablespoon tomato paste.
  3. Microwave the mixture on high for two minutes, covered lightly with a paper napkin.
  4. Remove the pork from the pan and stir in the cream mixture, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom, until the sauce has thickened slightly, about one minute.
  5. Stir in the one tablespoon chopped basil, parsley, or cilantro, and pour the sauce over the chops.