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Dinner Tonight: Pork Chops with Sage and Balsamic

My goal with this recipe was to try out the much-championed cold pan method for cooking pork chops, which involves starting with cold chops and a cold pan and cooking them slowly and gently. The advantage of the method is said to be incredibly juicy meat that's never dry, like pork chops so often are. For today's supermarket pork, which is conspicuously lacking in fat, it's supposed to make a difference.

The drawback to this method is that you really lose out on the caramelization of high heat. To combat this, I chose a Mark Bittman recipe from his New York Times article about 101 ways to cook dinner. It tosses in some chopped sage and drizzles the chops with good balsamic vinegar—a boost of complex sweetness that mimics caramelization. I also rubbed the chops with just a pinch of sugar before cooking to help promote browning. As advertised, these were incredibly juicy, and the woodsy sage added a wonderful dimension.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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