Pork Chop Basics – Brining and Cooking indoors

Brining pork chops is a great way to ensure your chops are tender, very juicy, and full of flavour.  In this recipe, I explain how you can cook your chops inside, but you can also grill them as we do here.   This brine makes enough for 6 chops.

Pork Chop Basics – Herb Rub

Thick, pastured pork chops are a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately many of us were raised on overcooked pork chops as a preventive measure against trichinosis.  The good news is that cases of trichinosis have all but disappeared, and the trichinae are killed at 137˚F, so if you cook your pork to 148˚F, you are guaranteeing safety from pathogens and ensuring your pork will be juicy. We like to rub our chops with an herb or spice rub, like the one below and then grill them, but brining, as well as pan-frying will also yield delicious results, and you can learn those techniques here.  This herb rub is found in The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, and they provide several other rub and brine recipes in their book as well.

Green Lentil and Bacon Salad

from Bon Appetit, May 2001

Yes, a “salad” made with ham and bacon!  But lots of parsley and plump little lentils add balance, resulting in a very tasty, substantial dish. This recipe sounds a whole lot more delicious in french: “Salade de Lentilles Vertes au Lardons”, but it is fantastic no matter what you call it.

Old-Fashioned Ham

An “Old-Fashioned” Ham is a leg roast that has been cured, giving it that pink, salty flavour we all know of as, simply, “ham.” However, there are also “fresh” hams, which are simply pork leg roasts.

If I’m looking for a classic roast “old-fashioned” ham, I use this recipe, from the magazine Bon Appetit.

Caucasus-style Braised Pork Shoulder

From Gourmet magazine

Pork Shoulders are absolutely divine. Divided into the butt, or the slightly tougher picnic, both are amazing in recipes involving braising. If I wanted to really make someone weak in the knees, this recipe would do it. It takes a fair bit of advanced preparation but trust me, the results are well worth it.

California Beef Stew

This beef stew is my absolute favourite. It’s adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly and is amazing over roasted winter vegetables or mashed potatoes.