Friday, March 6, 2009

Salt, Pepper, and Maple Syrup

A pig never had it so good.*

It's been soup weather all this week in lovely Burbank, so what's one to make? Wedding Soup? Cioppino? Caldo de Queso? My wife's eyes start to light up... She's thinking Tortilla Soup is coming out next, and out of my mouth comes Grilled Pork Chops. The look on her face can only mean I'm cleaning up afterwards.

I prefer bone-in double cut pork chops, but we happened to have boneless loin chops, which will do just fine if you watch 'em closely. So to this well trimmed lean cut of meat, I added some fat. Seemed perfectly reasonable to me at the time. Next came the cracked black pepper, and few hours back in the fridge. Yes, I think it helps the flavor, but more importantly, my older son wanted me to play trains.


You don't need trains to make this recipe work. You don't need wine either, but I poured myself a glass anyway. Right next to the wine was my good ol friend Brandy, which got me to thinking, I should make a sauce for these beauties. So I grabbed her, some maple syrup, a couple granny smith apple, a good lookin' shallot... and some more fat... some butter. I turned around, grabbed some salt, all-spice, and my bottle of olive oil and headed out for some quality time with my grill.

I salted up those chops, oiled my grill, and coughed as I tried to lay down my chops through the carcinogenic smoke screen I had just created. A couple of caramelized sliced apples with shallots and brandy later, I had just enough time for another glass of wine before I had to flip and then coat the pork chops with maple syrup.

I forget what veggies I made, the chops were so good.

And I love veggies.

4 Pork Chops
2 Granny Smith Apples
1 Medium Shallot
Maple Syrup
Olive Oil
Black Pepper
Viognier (or a Vernaccia if you plan to have me over)

Extra virgin olive oil will do just fine, rub about a tablespoon on for every four chops. Grab a plate. Put down a long piece of plastic wrap on it. Crack some black pepper onto it, throw down a well oiled chop, crack some more pepper, throw down another chop, black pepper, chop, pepper, choppepperchoppepper plastic. Wrap up those little pigs and throw 'em in the fridge to get yummy. Four hours maybe? Pull them out 3o minutes before you want to cook them (an hour if they're bone-in), and separate them into a single layer. Leave the plastic wrap to cover your well oiled bundles of joy, and keep them out of reach of your toddler. I'm just saying.

Salt them before you grill or pan fry them. Glaze the cooked side with the maple syrup. Don't get all sloppy with the syrup. Cook them to your liking or buy a probe thermometer from Target so that you know the specific temperature at which 'leather' occurs.

Preheat your griddle over medium heat.

So you can go one of eight ways here: skin on, or off, soft or crispy, sliced or diced. Once you figure that out, match your peeled shallot with your apple. Pour a tsp of olive oil onto your griddle or non-stick pan. For soft apples start them first, for crisp apples add both at the same time, then some salt and pepper.

Unless you are an experienced pyro, turn off your flame and add a pour of brandy when your apples start to get some color.

Please be careful here, I'm getting nervous about you doing this and I'm second guessing myself right now.

Finish it with a pat of butter, a pinch of all-spice, and I think I added a small amount of syrup here to to tie it all together. Or maybe some dijon mustard and ginger?

Better save that for another rainy day.

*Undercooked or raw pork is no bueno, then again, serving apple topped leather might ruin your street cred. My grandpa would want to remind you "Don't use the brandy if you don't have a fire extinguisher." The alcohol vapors can still ignite if the pan is too hot, flames or no flames.

Now go trim your eyebrows before you make this!

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