Asian-marinated pork chops with bok choy. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Asian-marinated pork chops with bok choy. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Cut thinner, this chop’s a winner

  • By Wire Service
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016 1:30am
  • Life

If you often find pork chops to be on the dry and bland side, this recipe could change your mind about them. Here, the lean meat is infused and made extra tender with a boldly flavorful Asian marinade. And because the chops are cut extra thin – almost as thin as minute steaks – they are not as chewy as thick ones, and the marinade is able to permeate.

With a mouthwatering mixture of soy sauce, fresh orange juice, garlic, ginger, sesame oil and sriracha, the marinade does double duty as a flavor agent for the chops and as a sauce for the accompanying vegetable. After making the marinade, you simply set some aside for the bok choy, then add the rest to a zip-top bag with the chops. One hour of marinating does the trick if you are in a rush, but if at all possible, let them sit longer, up to eight hours, for maximum effect.

Everything is done in a flash, so when you are ready to cook, make sure you have the bok choy and scallions prepped before you start; if you’re like me, you’ll want rice for serving, so have that ready as well. Cook the chops in an extra-large skillet in two batches, so they have enough space between them to get that beautiful caramelization — just two minutes per side — then transfer them to a plate. The chops leave a coating in the pan, called a fond, that dissolves into a deeply flavorful lacquer for the vegetable as it cooks in the same pan.

The reserved marinade added at the end ensures a lovely sauce for the bok choy. It all adds up to an easy, lip-smackingly delicious dish that puts pork chops in a new light.

Asian-marinated pork chops with bok choy

Ask your butcher to cut the pork chops to the size needed here.

Make ahead: The pork chops need to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

1⁄4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1⁄3 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 1⁄2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger root

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons Sriracha

8 thin-cut bone-in pork chops, 1⁄4 inch thick; about 1 3⁄4 pounds total (see headnote)

1 bunch scallions

1 1⁄4 pounds baby bok choy (about 5), quartered lengthwise, or 1 large bok choy, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces

Water (optional)

Salt, as needed

Whisk together the soy sauce, orange juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil and Sriracha in a medium bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Reserve 1⁄4 cup; pour the rest into a quart-size zip-top bag. Add the pork chops, then seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Trim the roots off the scallions, then cut about 3-inch lengths of the white and light-green parts. Halve the 3-inch pieces lengthwise if they are thick. Thinly slice the dark green part crosswise and reserve for a garnish.

Remove the pork chops from the marinade and discard what’s left in the bag.

Heat half the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add half the pork chops to the pan; reduce the heat to medium and cook until the meat is caramelized and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and chops. A dark brown coating (fond) will form in the pan as you cook the meat.

Once the chops are cooked and are resting on the plate, add the bok choy to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until it begins to soften slightly and the browned bits in the pan begin to dissolve. Add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan if it seems very dry. Add the 3-inch scallion pieces and cook for 1 minute, stirring.

Add the reserved 1⁄4 cup of unused marinade to the pan, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water by the tablespoon as needed, until the bok choy is tender.

Lightly season the pork chops and bok choy with salt. Serve warm, garnished with the scallion greens.

4 servings

Nutrition Per serving (using half the marinade): 410 calories, 47 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 460 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar

From nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

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