Despite pork being the national meat of the Chinese (the word for meat in Chinese is “yook” – which is synonymous to the word for pork), I don’t really eat a lot of pork. Nothing against the pig, its just that I like the taste of chicken, seafood and expensive fatty steak. But this recipe for Tandoori Orange Spiced Pork Chop ROCKS! The chops are seasoned with Tandoori seasoning (or, if you don’t have, make your own) and a pan sauce is made with carmelized onions, mushrooms, a quick squeeze of orange, white wine, orange sections and broth. The cardamom, ginger and cinnamon from the Tandoori seasoning just goes so well with orange. It’s seductive-spicy-sweet-fragrant. Serve with Saffron Basmati Rice and you’re in belly-dancing heaven. Inspired by Simply Recipe’s Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Orange Marmalade Glaze but I didn’t have tenderloin nor marmalade. Instead I had chops and 1 orange…so I improvised.
Tandoori-Orange Spiced Pork Chops
Ingredients:4 pork chops
1/2 cup kosher salt (for brine)
1/2 cup brown sugar (for brine)
1 tablespoon Tandoori spice
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 orange, sectioned (see Beyond Salmon's cool step by step), reserving the 2 ends & the middle membrane for juice
1 medium onion, sliced
1 pint sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Brine the Pork Chop
This step is purely optional, but I've found that when I brine chicken or pork chop, it never dries out even if I accidentally overcook the chops. But I understand if you don't have time, no big deal, just skip this step. Or, if your chops are really thin, don't bother. Grab a big pot. Take the salt and brown sugar, dissolve in 2 cups of hot water. Add cold water and ice cubes to make total of gallon total of brine. Place pork chops in the cooled brine, refrigerate between 1 hour-2 hours. Rinse and pat dry. Season with Tandoori spice and ground pepper (no salt! its salty enough from brine) Note: If you want the chops to be brined for a longer period of time, just use less salt/sugar. Sometimes I put the meat in brine in the morning, go to work and come home to cook. I'll just use half the amount of salt/sugar.
Fry the Pork Chop
In a pan large enough to hold all chops without touching each other, heat over high. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil. When hot and shimmering, add pork chops to pan. Fry 2 minutes without moving, touching or peeking.
Ok, now look - a nice brown crust! Flip the chops, turn the heat to medium-low and let it finish cooking through (internal temp 125.) Timing really depends on how thick your chops are. Really thin chops - just a couple of minutes. Thicker chops - cover the pan after flipping to get more heat in the pan. Really thick chops - best to stick it in the oven after flipping, 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Check the internal temp. Remove chops from pan, let rest on plate while you make sauce.
Make the Sauce
Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the pan drippings (most of it is fat). Place back on stovetop on medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden, soft and totally fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, cook another 2 minutes.
Turn up heat to high and add wine. Stir and scrape up the bottom of pan. Cook 1 minute. Add chicken broth and the orange sections. Take the orange ends and membranes, squeeze whatever remaining juice remains into the pan and discard. Cook 1 minute.
Swirl in the 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the sauce until it becomes thick, coating the back of a spoon. Pour on top of the chops.