Sweet Heaven: Chipotle Glazed Pork Chops
I was in charge of dinner on Saturday when my girlfriend and I had her brother and his family over. I wanted to make something to display my cooking prowess, but I was also feeling very lazy. Making some 24 ingredient masterpiece was not going to happen. I was on the prowl for something that would require little shopping and little prep time, but yet gain maximum respect. I opened my pantry and had these red hot beauties staring at me:
You may have heard about chipotles from Bobby Flay or some other Southwestern cook. Let me assure you, they are nothing fancy. They are just jalapenos that have been smoked, salted, and preserved in a spicy Adobo sauce. You can find a can of them in your local supermarket for about $2. Since a can has like 25 peppers in it, this is a steal. If you go into a fancy restaurant and see a chipotle encrusted something-or-other, just know that you are probably getting really ripped off.
A real man can eat these things like potato chips, but most people find them much too spicy, so it’s nice to mix them with something like honey to cut their heat a bit.
One thing about these little red-hot chunks of Heaven: their cost is counteracted by their annoying prep. You are going to get messy and don’t plan on touching any sensitive parts for about 4 days.
You don’t want the seeds of the chipotle; they are sort of like eating a small unpopped kernels of popcorn. To remove them, chop off the end, slice it open and scrape out the seeds with a knife or your finger or your tongue.
After this you can probably guess what happens: Chop up the peppers (3 or 4 depending on your spice level) and add 1 Tablespoon of honey per pepper you use (adjust depending on your tastes). You may have noticed from my parentheticals that this is not a set recipe. To this mixture add a teaspoon or two of water and some salt and pepper. You should end up with:
Now I just needed something to put this lovely glaze on. I went down to my local market and found 5 beautiful pork chops. Well, actually I only found two so I had to get three at Harris Teeter, but they were just as beautiful. If you are really good you might be able to tell which ones are from the farmer’s market.
To cook these suckers is a bit tricky. You don’t want to add the glaze until close to the end unless you like charcoaled pork chops. To get the glaze just right you want to sear the chops before adding the glaze. I started by heating up my cast iron skillet until it was blazing hot. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you should probably get one. You can use any pan I guess, but you just can’t get the pan as hot.
Depending on your pan size, you may have to do your chops in a few batches. You don’t want them to be crowded. Once they have seared on both sides for just a few minutes, either move them to a baking dish, or if you have cast iron, you can just move them straight to the oven for 5 minutes at 400.
Once that 5 is up, pull them out and pour about half of your glaze over one side of the chops. Let that cook for 5-10 minutes and turn them. Pour the rest of the glaze and cook for 10 more minutes. If you wanted to get fancy, you could transfer them to the broiler for a minute or two to get a really solid glaze. I just finished mine in the oven though and they ended up like:
These guys got rave reviews, but only took a few minutes to prep and cook. You can’t ask for a better recipe than that. If you don’t like pork, you could put this glaze on other stuff like chicken or veggies – or just eat it with a spoon.