15 Minute Pork Chops
Cheap, Fast, Easy and Delicious!
In this quick and easy recipe, you will need three main ingredients: Pork chops, Goya Adobo and Accent. Yes, you read correctly, there are only three ingredients! Aside from this, you will need a frying pan, preferably non-stick, a lid that adequately covers the pan and a fork (I found that a spatula makes this operation more difficult than necessary). So far, we're keeping our costs down, right? Oh, I almost forgot, you will also need something that tells TIME too, i.e. a wall clock, a timer, a stop watch, a cell phone, a watch, a sun-dial, whatever. Now, let's get into some fine details as there is a bit of wiggle room when it comes to following our trinity of ingredients.
I suggest buying pork chops with the bone like you see above and that includes those bulk packs you find at your local mega-supermarket, depending on your budget or preference. I find that these are the best value, so long as you don't waste them. You could get all fancy and get organic if that's your thing. But there are pork chops like you see in the picture, boneless pork loin and shoulder pork loin as well. These are normally less expensive but could be grainy due to tiny "bone crumbs" once you take them out of the package. If you can deal with this small detail then more power to you. Lord knows I have over the years as a college student just so I can save some money. I recommend that you check to make sure that the meat is indeed fresh and not previously frozen, because if the meat is not fresh, the chops will come out dry. If you want to spend a little extra and if your supermarket has one, then go directly to the butcher himself and buy them from the kiosk. Prices should range on a non-sale day between $1.59 per pouind and about $4.49 per pound in some cases. Even so, pork is normally at least 20% cheaper than beef.
Just about every supermarket nowadays has an Ethnic or International food section of which latino sub-section carries 99,9% of the time Goya products. In case you have never heard of Goya Adobo, it is an all-purpose seasonaing that tastes great on almost anything, including chicken, soup, and pizza. An 8-ounce bottle will run you about $2.39. Although they are several other companies other than Goya that make Adobo, I recommend Goya if you can find it. It usually contains the following ingredients: Salt, granulated garlic, oregano and tumeric. I like it with black pepper, which container has a red top and will say on the front label "Con Pimienta" or "With Pepper." Sometimes for a change of pace, I'll buy Adobo with cumin with the green top or "Con Cumin!" It's great on chili. If you end up using this kind of Adobo, don't be surprised if at first your chops look green. It's due to the cumin's natural green pigmentation.
Okay, you've probably seen it around before, but what exactly is it? Monosodium Glutamate, a.k.a. MSG. Now, most people DON'T like using this as some are indeed allergic. Obviously, if you are indeed one of these people, leave it out of the recipe. Obviously in recent years, MSG has gotten a bad reputation, especially in the U.S. But some doctors recommend it as an alternative to salt for patients with high blood pressure, just as long as they are not allergic. What does MSG do? Just as the Accent label implies that it "Wakes up food flavor." It costs about $3.39 for a 4.5 ounce shaker but should last a long time when used sparingly. My recipe calls for THREE ingredients and ONE of them is ACCENT, so surely I think it highly enough for you to use. Just take a look at every bag of potato chips you buy, or canned soup and you'll be surprised to find that MSG is listed as an ingredient. I believe that almost everything is okay in moderation and in this recipe, you'll only be using a pinch or two of Accent per pork chop.
Notice how no cooking oils are being used here as it isn't necessary. Pan searing really is a beautiful thing, as foods are cooked in their own juices (I personally love meat fat on steaks and chops). I'd recommend cooking steak in this fashion if your too lazy to fire up the grill, but that's for another time. Let's get started!
1. Unwrap the chops and leave the chops in the it's styrofoam container but take out the freshness pack underneath the chops. Take a fork and poke holes on the meaty sections of your pork chops on both sides just enough to break the surface. I love to eat and so two chops is adequate for me as a serving. Depending on the size of your pan, you'll be able to fit between 2 to 4 chops at a time. Plan to serve one or two chops person. Just keep in mind that you have to leave enough room to flip each chop over once with a fork. Also, the chops may not cook correctly if they are too close to one another.
2. Now sprinkle on the Adobo onto the pork chops just enought to cover the chops. Please be careful as too much Adobo will ruin the chops by making them too salty. Two or three shakes is all it takes for each side. Once done, sprinkle the Accent on top of each side of the chops but be a little less agressive: one-quarter of a teaspoon or less should be enough for each side. If you want to, another method would be to pour the necessary amount of Accent into the palm of your hand and then carefully place your hands together. While your hands are hovered over the chops, slowly rub your hands together as if you're rubbing them with soap. But applying the accent this way, you are seasoning the chops more evenly than if you were shaking it on. Of course you could apply the Adobo this way as well.
3. Heat up the frying pan between High and Medium High. I found that with this method, a gas burning stove is much easier to work with. Electric stoves get especially hotter faster and so requires some adjustment in the temperature. After about a minute of heating up the pan, begin placing the chops inside the pan and let them cook for 7 or 8 minutes. A bit of smoke should be about normal in this pan-searing process and is expected. A lot of smoke means that your temperature setting is too high! Make sure you have ventilation like a stove fan with a hood when cooking.
4. Now, if everything went well so far, you should see small little oily "pools" form at the center of each of the chops and more smoke than normal is beginning to emit from them. If so and the 7 or 8 minutes from the time you began cooking the chops had elapsed, and the edges of the chops are curling upwards, then it is time to flip the chops over with your trusty fork.
5. Lastly, cover the chops with the cover and lower the temperature down to Medium to Medium Low. Check the time and anticipate checking on the chops in 7 or 8 minutes. When you do come back to check on them, the juices in the pan should be minimal. If for some reason the chops don't look done enough, let them cook for another 2 or 3 minutes or if you have to, nuke them in the microwave for 2 or 3 minutes. If everything did go right up to this point, then you should have some juicy pork chops ready to eat!
You might not get it right the very first time doing this but after two or three times, you'll be a pro at it by then. This is one of the easiest "real food" recipes I know that takes very little time to prepare and is a better alternative than quick, unhealthy snacks. A couple of things that I would suggest serving with the chops is instant mash with butter if you are on a time constraint. I also recommend boiling frozen vegetables like peas and carrots, corn, or string beans in a small pot of water and strain them (try to stay away from using the mircrowave as much as possible. I don't even own one anymore). Above everything else, I prefer eating my chops with Jasmine white rice with a little Kikkoman Low-Sodium soy sauce! ($2.85 for a 10 ounce bottle) If you would like to learn how to make Jasmine white rice in 20 minutes then just look for ny recipe on my profile page. I hope you enjoy this recipe and find it both helpful and appetizing. Bon appetit!
Adobo : All Purpose Seasoning
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