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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.

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