22 October 2007

Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops

Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops
I'm not sure how long ago it was, but me and my brother (during the rare times he talks about cooking) were on a roll making horrible puns about Bobby Flay's book and series, "Boy Meets Grill." Ha ha ha, right? The sequel is "Boy Gets Grill." The natural progression, we were discussing, would be "Grill Dumps Boy," and "Boy Tries to Get Grill Back." So excuse me now for recycling this horrible pun, because it will not go away (even if I don't consider myself still a "boy"; though man and grill don't quite go together, do they?). The thing is, Bobby Flay does not make grilling look easy. You'd think you'll need his skill to get through cooking without infecting your family with Trichina or subjecting them to coal-like slices of meat. Well, it's not that hard. And I thought I'd begin my grilling days with one of my favorite things-- sweet barbecued pork with Chinese flavors. I got to my magazines (two different issues of Bon Appetit), then I improvised the marinade. It worked out pretty well! (Recipe follows)
Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops on the grill

Hoisin Grilled Pork Chops

  • 8 pieces pork chops 1/2 inch thick, about 1.5 kg (3 lbs.)

  • 1/4 cup Hoisin sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Chinese cooking (Shao Hsing) wine or dry sherry

  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder (I didn't have any on hand so I ground up a tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns and a teaspoon of cinnamon)

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey

Combine all the ingredients except the pork chops in a medium bowl. Make sure the pork chops are thawed and toss them in the marinade. Pour the pork chops and all the marinade into a freezer (or other suitable) zip-lock bag with a gallon capacity. Push out all the air out of the bag and zip it shut. This way, the meat will be surrounded by marinade no matter what the conformation of the bag. Marinade overnight.

Prepare a grill: I used a Tefal electric grill because it's much easier to clean; make sure it is very hot (you should barely be able or be unable to stand putting your hands near the surface of the grill for 10 seconds). Cut off the fat from the pork chops to avoid curling of the meat. Grill them for 3 minutes on each side (the rule is 3 minutes per side for every 1/2 inch thickness). To be absolutely sure of doneness, juices that run from a cut in the thickest portion should be clear, or an instant-read thermometer should register 145°F (62°C) in the middle of the thickest part.
  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon water

Mix the honey and water and warm through in the microwave (15 seconds on HIGH). Brush this glaze over the finished pork chops.

Stir-Fried Shanghai Bok Choy with Ginger
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled

  • 350g (3/4 lb.) Shanghai bok choy (native pechay or regular pechay)

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese cooking (Shao Hsing) wine or dry sherry

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil

Cut out 1/4-inch off the bottom of the bok choy and separate the leaves. Wash them well to remove dirt and use a salad spinner or colander to dry the leaves well.

Grate 1/2 of the ginger and cut the rest into matchstick-size pieces. Squeeze all the juice out of the grated ginger and discard the pulp. To the ginger juice, add the chicken broth, wine, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar and mix well. Over smoking-hot heat in a wok, add the vegetable oil and the ginger matchsticks. Stir-fry for 5 seconds, then add all the bok choy and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Add the juice mixture and cook for a minute more. Fish out all the bok choy and boil the sauce until quite thickened, about 2 minutes more, then pour over the bok choy. Drizzle the sesame oil over the dish.

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