Cooking certain cuts of pork in the Bewitching Kitchen can be a bit tricky. No matter how many chefs, cooks and food bloggers recommend cooking pork medium or even medium-rare claiming that it’s safe and tastes better, we prefer our pork to be fully cooked, approaching well-done. Sorry, folks, it’s a matter of taste… At that point, the less marbled pieces will end up dry. So, I pretty much abandoned center-cut pork loin chops in favor of other cuts. Pork tenderloin is my number one choice, and for braises and low-roasting I go with pork shoulder. Let’s bring sous-vide to the scene. Now I can cook the meat to the point we enjoy it, ending with a piece of meat that is both tender and juicy. This recipe, by the way, was the one that really sold the sous-vide concept to Phil. He was amazed by how perfectly cooked these turned out!
PORK LOIN CHOPS WITH ROASTED POBLANO BUTTER
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
for the compound butter:
2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 small poblano chili, roasted and peeled, seeds removed
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
zest of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
for the brine:
2 cups water
2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs sugar
for the meat:
4 center cut pork chops, boneless
1 tablespoon butter (probably a bit less)
grated ginger to taste
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon lime juice
Make the compound butter earlier in the day or several days before. Mix all ingredients well, form the butter into a log shape over parchment paper, rolling it tightly. Place the roll in the fridge for several hours, cut in slices when ready to use. Freeze leftover slices in a plastic bag.
Make a brine by dissolving the salt and sugar in 2 cups of cold water. Place the pork chops in the brine, refrigerate for a couple of hours. Remove the meat from the brine, rinse briefly and pat dry. Add a little bit of butter and grated ginger on top of each piece of pork, and place two chops inside each sealable bag.
Seal the bags and place in a sous-vide bath set for 140F for 6 hours.
When the time is almost up, mix the soy sauce, honey, mustard and lime juice in a small bowl. Remove the meat from the bag, brush the pieces with this mixture and grill very quickly on a hot grill just to char the surface, a couple of minutes per side.
Serve with a piece of compound butter on top.
to print the recipe, click here
If you’ve never made compound butter, that’s a nice cooking project for a Saturday afternoon. You can flavor it with many different fresh herbs, the traditional kind uses minced parsley. I went with a lot of roasted poblano, a small amount of cilantro and some lime zest. Using a bench scraper helps a lot to get the butter shaped as a nice roll, but next time I will add a layer of plastic wrap underneath the paper. The butter must be very cold when you serve it, so that it slices easily. It is hard to make compound butter using less than 2 sticks, so you will have plenty of slices to save in the freezer for later. Just remove what you will use a few minutes before dinner time.
If you do not have a sous-vide, the exact same recipe can be made on the grill, simply brine it before, brush with the soy mixture (add the ginger to the rest of the ingredients) and grill, preferably with indirect heat to prevent the surface from burning too fast. If you are anti-butter, I feel a bit sorry for you, but the sous-vide pork will be ok on its own. ;-)
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