Thursday, February 10, 2011

Honey-Orange Pork Chops

I created this recipe today on a whim. I had some oranges that were getting old and that were not very good to eat like a fruit, they were juicy but very small, so basically to get a glass of juice I had to squeeze at least four of them and found myself too lazy to do all that work for a glass of juice. Plus, I like pork chops and I think that if they are good pork chops, like the organic ones I buy in the summer at the Woodstock Farmers Market, they don't need much fancy addition to it: just grill them or pan fry them with salt and pepper and maybe some rosemary. The problem is that the store bought pork chops instead have almost no flavor at all, I can't even imagine the miserable life those porks live and the amount of antibiotics and hormones they go through. That being said, in the winter there is no Farmers' Market, I live too far from a Whole Foods, I can't purchase a whole or half organic hog because I wouldn't know where to put it, so I have to buy regular meat. And pork chops are usually pretty inexpensive too, plus, if you don't eat the fat ( which, alas, I always do) they are quite lean and can even fit into a diet.
If you want to sound fancy you could call this a "honey marinated pork chop with orange gremolata". Gremolata is a word adapted from Italian ( I never heard it in Italy, but I think it's from the Milan region) and it means a condiment that traditionally include lemon zest, garlic and parsley. In America they use it to refer to any mixture of herbs and fruit zest though. I think the reason they use it is that is sounds fancier than saying with "grated orange zest and rosemary" for example, plus it is shorter, but that's really what it is.

INGREDIENTS (for 2 people)

2 small oranges or 1 regular one
2 pork chops
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of fresh chopped rosemary
1/4 cup of white wine
olive oil


Grate the zest of one of the oranges and reserve.
In a bowl combine the juice of the oranges and the honey. Immerse the pork chops in the liquid and let marinate for 1 to 2 hours covered in the fridge.
Heat up in a pan enough olive oil to coat the pan (about 1 teaspoon).
Take the pork chops out of the marinade ( do not discard the marinade) and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pork chops about 5 minutes on one side, then turn and cover and cook at medium heat until cooked through ( you can use a meat thermometer to see if they reach the temperature of 160 degrees), about 8 minutes.
Remove the pork chops from the pan and keep them covered.
Add the reserved marinade and the wine to the pan, scraping any browned bits. 
Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the sauce becomes thick and brown, like a syrup.
In a little bowl combine the grated zest with the finely chopped rosemary.
Plate the pork chops, cover with the syrup and then sprinkle with the gremolata.

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