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Monday, April 2, 2012

Ginger pork chops

I saw the original recipe for this one in an email recipe newsletter (you know, the ones that usually go straight to the junk mail folder sight unseen).  I'm glad that newsletter didn't get automatically junked this time!  I've modified the original recipe significantly in order to make the recipe freezer kit-friendly, a leetle more calorie-friendly and because it's the wrong season to be finding candied ginger easily at the store. 

If your grocery store sells packages of "assorted pork chops" (meaning a mix of bone-in and boneless, loin and sirloin chops), this is a great recipe for those guys.  Please note there is no pepper or salt called for here...the ginger carries plenty of zing so pepper would be overkill and the soda brings sodium to the party. 

To shortcut the actual cooking of this recipe, you can skip the browning step if you are really pressed for time or only brown on one side...if you choose the latter, be sure to put the browned side up in the baking pan.  I highly recommend roasting some broccoli, cauliflower or carrots alongside the pork chops to cut down on the allover dinner workload.

 I like Vernor's ginger ale for this recipe (and just in general). It's got the strongest real ginger flavor IMHO of the ginger ale brands that are widely available. I'm sure there are micro-soda companies making really good ginger ale or ginger beer (not an alcoholic beverage, btw), and if you have some available (especially ginger beer) use that!

Extra double bonus cocktail recipe: Dark and Stormy...1 shot dark rum over ice in a 12 oz. glass, fill with ginger beer. 

Ginger Pork Chops
Makes 4 servings

4 bone-in pork chops (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup diced shallots or red onion
1/4 cup minced or grated fresh ginger
1 cup ginger ale or ginger beer
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp cream or half-and-half

To make a freezer kit, make sure pork chops are well-wrapped.  Combine shallots/onion and ginger in a small freezer container.  Make sure to have a bottle/can of ginger ale on hand (labelled!) or freeze 1 cup in a freezer container (make sure to leave plenty of room in the container for expansion).  Combine walnuts, raisins and cream in another container.  Package together and freeze.

To cook, thaw thoroughly.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Brown chops well, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove to an oven-proof baking dish.  Add shallots and ginger to pan and saute 2-3 minutes until fragrant.  Add ginger ale and bring to a simmer, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan.  Pour over chops. 

Bake 20-30 minutes (depending on thickness of chops...1/2" thick chops will need 20 minutes, 1" thick chops will need 30 minutes) uncovered.  Gently stir in raisins/walnuts/cream (just take a spoon and sort of stir in the spaces between the chops).  Bake an additional 15 minutes.  Serve over rice, noodles or mashed cauliflower. Pin It

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