Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Vietnamese Caramelized Pork

I pulled two lean loin chops out of the freezer yesterday morning. In my normal fashion, I spent the afternoon at work pondering what to do with them. When I got home, I went through my pantry and started sketching out ideas. Eventually I looked down at what was a pretty solid plan, and realized that it was pork with a mustard-dill pan sauce. This is not to say that I don't freaking love that mustard-dill pan sauce.  It's just that I've been using this kitchen for about two months now and I'm ALREADY in a rut.  Luckily, at about the time I would have been starting to make dinner, I found out that a housemate of mine made a big pot of new england fish chowder. So I left the pork in the fridge, scrapped my plans, ate some soup and started rethinking the possibilities.

Sifting through recipes online can get freakin' daunting.

First, there's that one recipe that is re-posted 800,000 times (say it out loud... "eight-hundred thousand times," it rolls so nicely, don't you think?) And then there are those intriguing but insanely complicated, expensive, ridiculous recipes. Screw. That.

However, if you're persistent and you take your time, you will find the occasional jewel, like this one.

When you first look at the ingredients list, it almost seems too simple. I mean, for my prep picture above, I had to add the butter, carrots, onions and rice for my side dish prep in order to fill the shot. However, when you get right down to it, this recipe has more than enough flavor...
Garlic, Ginger and Green Chile
Sliced Pork Loin Chops marinated in Fish Sauce and Crushed Black Pepper

This recipe also introduced me to a new technique. I have made many a caramel in my day.  I also add a spoonful of sugar to every stir fry I whip up. I have never, however, created a basic caramel and then built a savory sauce on top of it.
Pork has just started cooking
Time to cover and simmer and let that pork get dark

As this was my first time (gasp!), I did make a few mistakes. I did let the pan get too hot. I did scorch the garlic and ginger Just a teensy bit. (not enough to ruin it or anything.) I did overcook the pork and make a mess of the stovetop.

Let's just say, I need to practice with this.

In fact, I think I need to practice a lot. Yummmmmmmmmmmmm......

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