Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Asian-Inflected Pork Chops # Recipe by @LeslieKarst


In honor of Chinese New Year this coming Friday, Feb. 12,  when we usher in the Year of the Ox (and leave behind the horrific Year of the Rat--not to disparage rats too much), I thought I'd share with you this recipe for delectable Asian-inflected pork. 

This dish is a good one for a dinner party, since you can shove it in the oven and pretty much forget about it until it’s time to eat. For 4 chops, you’ll need a pound or so of fruit—plums, peaches, pears, apples, whatever you can find that time of year. (This being Hawai‘i, I settled for a large Asian pear and some frozen peach slices--and yes, I know that apples and pears aren't technically "stone fruit.") In addition, the recipe calls for honey, Chinese five-spice powder, ginger, garlic, a red chile, lemon juice, soy sauce, and black pepper.


Asian-Inflected Pork with Stone Fruit

(serves 4)

1 lb. plums, pears, apricots, and/or apples (sliced or quartered)
5 T honey
1 t Chinese five-spice (or Tandoori) powder
1-2 T chopped ginger
1-2 T chopped garlic
1 small red chile
juice of one lemon or lime
1 T soy sauce
black pepper to taste
oil to grease the baking dish 

I didn’t have any five-spice powder on hand, but I did have Tandoori seasoning. A quick check on the internet showed that they were somewhat similar, so I used the Tandoori powder, which turned out to be quite tasty.

Finely chop the ginger, garlic, and chile:

Then mix together the honey, five-spice (or Tandoori seasoning), ginger, garlic, chile, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, and black pepper.

Lay the pork chops in a greased baking dish and spread the fruit around and over the chops. Then pour the sauce on top, making sure some gets underneath the chops.

Bake uncovered at 375°F. After about 40 minutes the dish will look like this:

Turn the chops over, and continue cooking until the liquid has thickened to a nice gravy consistency and the meat and fruit has browned.

I was worried the meat would be tough—a common problem with pork chops—but there was enough liquid during most of the baking that they actually braised, and were fine. If you don’t have enough liquid after about 15 minutes of baking to almost cover the chops (the fruit and pork will expel lots of liquid), you should probably either add some more liquid (water or stock), or cover the pan with foil. If you use foil, take it off for the last 15 minutes so the dish can brown.

Mine took between an hour and a hour and a half (I wasn’t paying exact attention to the time), but when I took them out they looked like this:

it’s those darn fluorescent lights
that make everything look so yellow

As sides, I had steamed rice and stir-fried bok choy—white and green:

Chop the bok choy coarsely, and separate the stem parts from the greens:

Fry the stems in sesame oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet. When almost done, stir in some oyster, or other Chinese stir-fry sauce.

Turn off the heat and mix in the greens, allowing them to wilt. Season with soy sauce, if necessary.

Here’s the meal, plated up:

an ice cream scoop makes the rice look pretty

食飯 (sihk faahn, i.e., “eat!” in Cantonese)


🍑 🌿 🐖

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. Putting this early education to good use, she now writes the Lefty Award-nominated Sally Solari Mysteries, a culinary series set in Santa Cruz, California. 
An ex-lawyer like her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. She and her wife and their Jack Russell mix split their time between Santa Cruz and Hilo, Hawai‘i.

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Praise for Leslie's most recent Sally Solari mystery, the Lefty Award-nominated MURDER FROM SCRATCH:
“Karst seasons her writing with an accurate insider’s view of restaurant operation, as well as a tenderness in the way she treats family, death and Sally’s reactions to Evelyn’s blindness.”

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  1. That looks so good, I wonder if it would work with chicken?

  2. This does sound delicious. I have a pork tenderloin I need to use some time. I bet with a shortened cooing time this would work beautifully.

    1. Yes, I would definitely shorten the cooking time, as the tenderloin has little marbling. But yum!