31 July, 2008

Whip it Up Challenge: Week 4

We've tried three new recipes this week - one of our own invention, one that we haven't actually tasted yet (it's a salad that's chilling overnight in the fridge) and the one I'll post here today, the Absolute Best Pork Loin Chops We've Ever Eaten.( Or some sort of pork cut with no bone.) Boo for me, I don't even have a picture to show you because I didn't decide I was going to post this recipe until all the meat was down the hatch. (And also, yes, I realize the theme for this week is vegetarian. Sorry about that. The original recipe I was going to post was in fact, quite vegetarian, but this one was too good not to share this week - and the rules do say the theme is but a guideline/suggestion!)

Essentially we were trying one new 'recipe' and one new 'technique.' The new technique was brining. Here's what Allrecipes.com says about Brining. We made one mistake in that we didn't rinse the meat, but it didn't occur to either of us to do that anyway.

We used three pork loin chops that were about 3 inches wide and 6 inches long. I microwaved two teaspoons of salt with 3/4 cup water until the salt was dissolved. I poured that over the pork (which was sitting in a pie plate) and then covered it with cold water and plastic wrap and let it refrigerate for about four hours. We read somewhere that you can refrigerate it for three hours or overnight.

Once we were ready to cook the pork, we put it on a plate and used a spice rub on it. We are huge fans of spice rubs because they add flavour without all the extra calories and preservatives of store-bought sauce.

Our favourite and most-used spice rub recipes come from the July/August 2004 issue of Everyday Food (if you can swing the subscription price, it's quite a nifty little mag that usually contains some very excellent recipes). We've used the Chile Rub (which I couldn't find a link for) and the Curry Rub which you can find here.*/** Anyway, there are two rub recipes we hadn't tried yet and one was recommended for pork so we gave it a go.

Behold, the recipe for Whip it Up Challenge, Week Four:

Spicy Paprika Rub (as found in Everyday Food, July/August 2004, p. 52)
(Makes 9 teaspoons - but we mixed up a 1/2 recipe and still had some leftover)

4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients. Store in an airtight container (an empty spice jar works great!)

Now, The Q & A:

Was the recipe easy to follow?
Um, yeah. Look at it! The brining needs a little tweaking and we need to remember to rinse the meat next time. It was a bit salty, but...

...Did it taste good? Oh my goodness - yes! It was amazing. Kind of a sweet/spicy taste with a hint of something....foreign, and the meat was perfectly tender.

Would we make it again? A resounding yes! I went through a phase in life where I refused to eat any pork except ham and the tastiest meat in the world, Pioneer Farmers Sausage. (You may have heard of other farmers sausages, but unless it's Pioneer, you're wasting your time and I mean that from the bottom of my gullet.) I only recently started eating pork again because we came across a) some cheap meat and b) some tasty recipes for preparing it. Using a rub made this a relatively 'light' meat and making it on the barbecue meant it was really easy to prepare. Again, the only thing we would do differently is rinse the meat before we use the rub - oh and we might try letting it sit in the brine for even longer. So go! Eat! Enjoy!

* The Curry Rub is amazing on barbecued chicken; chop up leftovers and mix with Miracle Whip (we use MW light), chopped celery, and a smidgen of S&P for one super chicken salad!

** I always get so distracted when I visit the MS website but this time in a very good way. I think I found a recipe which may be the culmination of the WIU Challenge for us this summer. Check this out!


RA said...

We love a good brined piece of meat! That's how JG made our (17 pounds for the two of us!) Christmas turkey this year.

Beck said...

Pork chops aren't vegetarian?
We're big fans of marinating meat, but I don't think we've ever brined it first. It sounds like an interesting first step!
I love Everyday Food, too! It's HANDY and easy and sophisticated!

EG said...

We brined a whole chicken a few months ago - it was life-changing. Everything will be brined from now on.