Friday, March 6, 2009

The Struggle For Moist Boneless Loin Chops

When boneless pork loins go on sale, I hie myself to the grocery store and bring one home to convert into loin chops and perhaps a small roast or two. Just slice the loin as you would a loaf of bread, each slice being the thickness you wish for chops. Leave some chunks as roasts for variety.

WARNING: I tried this once with a bone-in loin and the only thing that was clear at the end was that the loin had lost. If you don't have a bone saw, let the butcher do it!

Pork producers have bred wonderfully lean animals that make pork about equivalent to chicken when it comes to fat. There are two downsides to this, one is that pork production is hard on the environment, the other is that this wonderfully lean pork often tastes like sawdust!

So, here's one way to try to have moist and flavorful, though lean, chops: boil them. That's right, boil them. You don't even need to think ahead to thaw them.

Here's a recipe for tangy pork chops:

Boneless loin chops (1 per person)
Beef broth (any broth works in a pinch but beef adds more flavor for this)
White wine
Dill, basil, curly parsley or other herb
Something salty

Throw all these into a saucepan, making sure the liquids almost cover the chops, and simmer for an hour or so. When you serve the chop, spoon about a teaspoonful of the liquid on top to soak in on the plate.

Again, an imprecise recipe but there is no need to be precise in this case. You can adjust the flavors to suit.

This week's herb/salty/pepper combo was a dill-celery-garlic mustard, pre-chopped dill-in-a-tube, black olive paste (salty), and lemon pepper. But you could use any old hot dog mustard, dried parsley flakes, salt & pepper. Just go for it.

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Imprecise & Inexpensive

Two themes predominate in my approach to cooking. 1. Daily cooking of flavorful food need not be a precise art. 2. You can be an adventurous cook on a budget. Cooking and eating should be fun for both cookers and eaters.