Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cheap Bastids Pork Loin Chops with Orange Glaze

Well, Cheap Bastid doesn’t have a whole lot of inspiration with the news of a new granddaughter yesterday, but I thought that I’d look at what I’ve cooked and photographed recently and see what I could share.

One of our favorite “proteins” (that’s a “foo-foo” foodie word for meat) are thick cut (about 1 ¼- 1 ½ inch) boneless loin chops. This is arguably the one meat that we consistently keep on hand which is the most expensive cut (about $2.89 lb at Costco). But, we like to do 1 for each of us at about a half pound each which is a bit less meat than I would usually do because there is actually less fat than in a typical steak so the portion can be a bit smaller. Or, one of them sliced in strips makes for a terrific Chinese dinner cooked up in the wok.

So anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I pulled out a couple of loin chops. They’re great on the grill but I wanted to do something just a bit different. Usually I go real simple with just a light dusting of my basic spice blend or “sweet heat” blend. I decided to go with a bit of seasoning and a glaze.

Here’s what I came up with. Give it a try and enjoy.

Loin Chops and Orange Glaze
2 thick cut pork loin chops
1 navel orange
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup chicken broth (or white wine)
Chipotle powder
Basic blend (garlic, black pepper, salt)

Sweet potato wedges

Prep your grill and set up a 2 zone fire. One side hot, one side cool. Peel and section the orange. Chop orange sections into about ½” chunks & put in a sauté pan that you can put on the grill (I’ve got an old beater that I removed the handle from that I got for $1 at a thrift store). Add the brown sugar, chicken broth and some chipotle. (Notice I said “some” chipotle. You can always add more as you sample taste but once the spice is in, you can’t take it out). And, add a pinch of salt.

Lightly sprinkle the “basic blend” on both sides of the chops (also, I often will drizzle just a skosh of oil on the chop and spread it out with my fingertips then add the seasoning. I’m with Bobby Flay—oil the meat not the grill).

Then put the pan of glaze fixings on the cool side of the grill. Give it about 5 minutes before putting the chops down. If the glaze thickens first you can remove it from the grill to let the chops finish. I cook by time on the grill and turn about every 3-4 minutes. So, at 3 minutes check for grill marks and turn the meat. At 3 or so more minutes flip again. After another 3 minutes, flip again and then apply the glaze to the top of the chop—a nice, thick, chunky coat. In 3 minutes, remove the chops, they should be just done and still juicy. (You know your grill so adjust cooking times accordingly).

The glaze is going to give you a sweet and “acidy” taste at the same time. The cracked pepper and a hint of garlic will come through from underneath. Man, these are tasty.

Make up a batch of sweet potato wedges in the oven for the side, add a nice salad and you’ve got a great dinner.

Here’s the recipe for the potato/sweet potato wedges:

The Cheap Bastid Test: The chops cost $3.00 and the glaze cost about $.50. Add another $1 for the sweet potato wedges and you’ve got $4.50 for a really good dinner for 2. It’s a bit more than Cheap Bastid usually spends but this is a treat and we do it maybe once a month. Plus, this meal is easily $18-$20 in a restaurant—each.

It’s getting to be grilling season in most places now so give this a try and enjoy.

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

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