Dinner Tonight: Seared Pork Chops with Kimchi

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Kimchi can do no wrong. At least that's how I'm feeling at the moment. It is perfect in traditional Korean stews, and it can even miraculously help spruce up a quesadilla. It's so wonderful it can play well with both pork belly and tofu. So I guess it shouldn't come as that big of a surprise that it pairs nicely with pork chops. Just a tablespoon of chopped kimchi marinates the chops, infusing them with plenty of spice and just a bit of vinegar tang.

I found this recipe on the New York Times website, and it's interesting how they incorporate Korean ingredients into what is essentially a very basic pan sauce. A lot of the flavor comes from the fond leftover from cooking the pork chops in a skillet. It's deglazed with vermouth and flavored with honey and kimchi. It sounds unlikely, but a pat of butter at the end helps unify everything into a tart, luscious, and slightly sweet sauce.

How you cook the actual pork chops depends on how thick they are. The original recipe calls for 1-inch thick monsters. For those, you'll need to sear them like the instructions say, and then reduce heat to medium low, cover the skillet, and cook for 7 minutes. For 1/2-inch thick ones, like the ones I used, the quick sear should cook them properly.

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago and the co-founder of The Paupered Chef.

Dinner Tonight: Seared Pork Chops with Kimchi

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About This Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons kimchi, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vermouth or white wine
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • Chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper

Procedures

  1. 1

    Place the pork chops in a plastic bag along with 1 tablespoon of the kimchi. Toss well. Set in the fridge and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.

  2. 2

    Scrap off the kimchi from the pork chops. Pour the oil into a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pork chops and cook for about 3 minutes a side. They should be completely cooked, but if not, turn the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook until done to your liking. Remove the chops from the pan.

  3. 3

    Pour in the wine, 1/2 teaspoon of the honey, and the rest of the kimchi to the skillet. Crank the heat to high and scrap the skillet with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Stir until it has created a thick, luscious sauce. Taste it to see if it needs more honey, and add more to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

  4. 4

    Serve the pork chops with the sauce spooned on top with a sprinkling of chopped scallions.

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