I have noticed a real trend in the meat department. I don't know about your grocery store, but at mine, all they ever seem to stock are thin cut pork chops....especially with the bone-in chops. My biggest problem with such thin pieces of meat is that it's hard to get a good color on them in such a short amount of cooking time. Well, I found the solution to the problem....America's Test Kitchen! I was fortunate enough to get a few small recipe books from a girl at work. She works in our media department and they get media kits sent to them all the time. Media places trying to get us to place our clients ads with them. Recently, she received a media kit from Cook's Illustrated and she got a ton of recipe book she had no use for, so knowing my love for cooking, she gave them to me. I was SO excited. One of the first things I found was a recipe for grilling thin cut pork chops. After all their experiments and tests, they found that the best way to get a really thin cut chop to come off the grill looking expertly cooked was to freeze them for 30 minutes before putting them on the grill and then spread a butter mixture over top of them to help the browning. It worked like a charm! Ok, so my chops didn't get a caramelized looking as theirs did, but I was afraid of flare ups from the butter so I did not set the heat as hot as I should have. Nice thing is, I know this works now and I had no flare ups, so next time.. oh, yes there will be a next time...I will perfect the procedure!
As for the rice, I've been wanting to make coconut rice for a while now and just never thought it would go well with the dish I was making. I always tell people that I don't like coconut, but that's a lie. I love the flavor of coconut, but I hate the texture... so I don't like it, but I like it. With this rice, it gave me a chance to savor the wonderful flavor of coconut, without having to worry about that whole texture thing!
These chops were wonderful, spicy and flavorful. The rice was sweet and a perfect compliment to the pork. The Thai butter that you put on the chop after you take it off the grill is fantastic. I mean it was so good that Chris didn't even complain about the cilantro that was in it... and he hates cilantro!! I didn't get a good picture of the chop after the butter had actually melted over it, and I wish I had, because it was ALMOST too beautiful to eat....almost :)
Spicy Thai Pork Chops
Recipe created by American's Test Kitchen (Cooks Country, Aug/Sept 2010)
6 bone-in rib or center-cut pork chops about 1/2-inch thick (mine were actually about 3/4 inch thick and I only used 4)
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened - divided
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce (I used Sambal Oelek chili paste)
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
Pat the chops dry with a paper towel and rub both sides with salt. Arrange on a wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and freeze until chops are firm, at least 30 minutes but no longer then 1 hour.
Combine 2 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, and pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Mix remaining butter, cilantro, and lime zest in another small bowl and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. (Cilantro butter can be made and refrigerated 1 day prior to use)
Preheat your grill to medium. Remove chops from freezer and pat dry. Spread softened butter-sugar mixture evenly over both sides of each chop. Grill, covered, over hot fire until well browned and the meat registers 145 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to platter and top with chilled butter-cilantro mixture. Tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Enjoy!
1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
1/2 cup water
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
Wash the rice in several changes of cold water until it runs clear. Place the water, coconut milk, slat and sugar in a saucepan. Add the rice, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender to the bite and cooked through. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to rest for 5-10 minutes. Fluff up the rice with a fork and serve.