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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Deconstructed Braised Pork Chop Sandwiches

Well, folks, it's that time of week again; time for our once-a-week meat dish.

Tonight's meal is a delectable bone-in pork chop!


Of the plethora of ways in which this chop could have been prepared, I opted for slow-braised on low heat in a tomato garlic sauce, and then served open-faced on a large slice of sourdough bread.


Why not?

No, really, I had originally planned to make pork chop sandwiches already several days earlier.  The plan had been to get a couple of small boneless chops which I could then butterfly and grill nicely, and then serve in sandwiches with some grainy mustard and fresh greens...

Although the butcher didn't have any boneless, they did have this gorgeous chop.  It was a little on the large size, and it would not butterfly, nor would it be easily shared or divided in two.

Not to worry though, I decided I'd just braise the whole thing and then it would be easy to pull it apart after cooking.


So, first step as always, is to brown the meat.

I brought out my small cast iron pan, and cranked up the heat to high.  I coated the chop very lightly in avocado oil which has a high-smoke-point, something that is always a good idea when using high heat.

I seared the fat strip first for a minute, and then gave each side about a minute as well.  Then the chop rests for a bit, while I take care of the delicious gribblies it left behind in the pan.

Make sure to put partially-cooked meat on a cutting board with grooves so that you can catch all the juices and re-incorporate them at a later time!

Well, the heat turned down to medium-low now, I threw in about a cup of chopped onion, and another small splash of vegetable oil.

After tossing those about to make sure they got all the good leftover bits of pork and pork juice, those onions just sautéed for about five minutes, until they got translucent.

At which point I tossed in a fair amount of chopped garlic:

Don't really want to fry the garlic, so that's about it.  I turned the heat off and just moved those around a bit and let them cool for a minute.


But, you know me... can't have those huge chunks of root vegetables interfering with the texture of my sauce.

No, no, no, no, no, and no. That just will not do.

I love my immersion blender so much.  It is probably my most used kitchen utensil.

There is the onion, garlic, and pork gribblies.  You have to agree that this looks so pretty!  But wait, it gets better:

Some tomato paste with a generous splash of a not-so-awesome pinot noir I had had open from the night before.  A bit of smoked sea salt and dried, crushed oregano as well.

But that gets stirred in and now you certainly must agree that this looks really pretty!

Anyway, my oven is preheated to 300°F (you can go lower even if you like, and have the time to spare), so I place the chop in there, and flip it over a few times to make sure it is nicely coated, and then make sure that it is fully covered with sauce.

At this point the hard part is over, just cover it with a lid or aluminium foil, and put it in the oven to braise.

Well, after about an hour and a half I was starting to get hungry so I decided to start wrapping things up.  I tossed some fresh asparagus in a light mixture of lemon juice, black pepper, sea salt, and a touch of vegetable oil, and then placed them in the oven on a baking sheet.

These of course only took about ten minutes, even at low-ish heat.

And, a few minutes before they were done, I decided to lightly toast the bread.

But it was time to call it.

Off goes the oven, out comes the pork to cool for a few minutes while I get everything ready.

Doesn't it look lovely?  I love braising meat.  It might just be my favourite way to have boney meats.

Anyway, to the plating.

First, the bread.

Oh so lonely.  But, not for long!

The sauce cometh.

Literally just spooned this on.  A little carefully, as I wanted to make sure it looked somewhat clean and pretty.

As I had hoped, braising the pork chop made the meat really tender and super easy to just pull apart with a fork, so it was really easy to divide that chop into two portions.

Of course I made sure to split the tenderloin piece as well!  It wouldn't be equal portioning without that, after all!


Kinda looks like a porkchop sandwich.

Anyway, the other reason I like braising bone-in meats, is that the meat just falls off the bone(s) so easily.  Look at all that was left from that chop:

Just the strip of fat, and then the chop bone.  


Although there are a good amount of veggies in that sauce, we can't forget the asparagus!

It provides a nice bright green splash of colour, but also a welcome texture change; crisp and tart in comparison with the soft and earthy mellowness of the meat sandwich.