on rain and dinner…pork chops with a twist of orange

I walked the kids to school this morning in 34 degree rain.  I am most definitely not mom of the year.  However, the kids didn’t complain at all; this made me very proud of them.  Also, three complete strangers stopped and asked if I wanted a ride.  How cool is that?!  I’m proud to say that I live in a neighborhood where people will risk looking like a kidnapping/rapist/terrorist/serial killer just to be nice.  I didn’t accept any of those offers, of course.  I needed to set an example for the kids (safety), but also what if they were kidnaping/rapist/terrorist/serial killers?  Just because they have little Sticker Families on their bumper, doesn’t mean they aren’t channelling Ted Bundy in their basements.  …anyway, I thought it was nice of them.

I actually enjoyed my little jaunt in the rain.  I jogged a bit, walked a bit, ran a bit.  When I got home, my skin had that pepperminty feeling of the chill blains.  I like that feeling.  My skin is icy cold to the touch (cold like the dead-and I’ve helped with enough autopsies to know) but my blood is warm and busy just under the surface…makes me feel healthy and young and alive.  …two out of three ain’t bad…

Here are the chops I made for dinner last night.  The Husband said they were the best chops he’d ever eaten and the kids each had two so I figure I must’ve done a decent job.  😉  Here  ya go, my friends:

Chile Pepper and Orange Chops

The Stuff You’ll Need: large, heavy bottomed pot for both stove top and oven use; tongs; parchment paper; scissors

The Grub You’ll Need: 8-10 good sized pork chops, bone in or out; 1c orange marmalade; chili powder…about 3Tbsp; salt and pepper; olive oil for cooking; 3 sprigs of thyme (or rosemary…); 3 bay leaves; 1/2c chicken stock

What You’ll Do:

(heat your oven to 350)

1) heat olive oil in your pan on the stove top.

2) while your oil is heating, sprinkle some chili powder, salt, and pepper over the chops, ensuring both sides are seasoned.  (the chili powder will really add to the umami of the chops…the marmalade is almost too sweet, otherwise.  If chili powder isn’t your bag, try garlic or cumin.)

3) brown the chops, one or two at a time.  Set them aside on a plate until you’re all done.  While they’re on the plate, resting, spoon a little of the marmalade over them.  Don’t stress about covering every inch of the meat, but smear some on both sides, at least.  The heat from the cooked chops will liquify the marmalade.  Yum!

a seasoned pork chopped, all loved up

4) when all the chops have been sauteed on the stove top, place them back into the pot and add about 1/2c chicken stock.  If you don’t have stock, water will do just fine and you can tell Martha Stewart and/or Giada DeLaurentis to stick it.  Add the thyme, bay leaves, and any remaining marmalade to the pot and cover with a parchment paper lid.

(Parchment paper lid: fold a square of parchment paper like you would if you were making a paper snowflake.  Trim the edges round, then snip the point off (to make the center hole).  A parchment paper lid allows steam to escape, allows you to peak at your food easily, creates few dishes, and still keeps your food from charring.  Thank you, Thomas Keller.  Amen.)

5) cook the chops at 350F  for about an hour, hour and a half.  Since you cooked them thoroughly on the stove-top, all you’re doing now is tenderizing and flavoring them.  Every twenty minutes or so, rearrange the chops so that they all get a turn to be on the bottom with the liquid and the top to get caramelized. (somewhere in the world, a chef-type person is pulling their hair out and screeching, “it’s called braising, you stupid Neanderthal!  BRAISING!”…if chef-type people read my blog, that is…which they probably don’t…so never mind…)

the final product; spicey, sweet, and super-tender

6)if you’ve a mind to, you can make a nice sauce from the liquid left in your pot.  Remove the chops, thyme and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil on your stove top and whisk in some butter.  Whisk. Whisk. Whisk.  Simmer until its all reduced by half or 2/3 and you’ll have syrup good enough to bathe in. …not that I would know…’cause that would just be messed up.  …right?…

I served mine with cauliflower and fried potatoes, but I’m thinking that horseradish potatoes would be better next time.  The sweet chops would set off the zing of the horseradish just right, and keep up the theme of “sweet and spicey” (to be whispered in husky Austin Powers-type voice)

gratuitous shot of a spoon

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