Friday, April 6, 2012

Smoked Pork Chops and Puy Lentils


Another day, another find at the butcher shop, today: smoked pork chops. They smelled great, so why not? (although I was really tempted by a great little bavette - maybe next time) The butcher said that the chops had been brined, similar in fashion to a ham, and then cold smoked. What to do with them? I opted to grill the chops and serve with some beautifully black puy lentils. Here's what I did:

First I addressed the lentils. Combine the lentils with bay leaf, fresh thyme, half an onion and a clove of garlic (halved) into a sauce pan. Then pour in enough water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Drop in a pinch of salt, cover and bring to a boil. Once they're boiling, give a stir and then drop to a simmer and cover securely. I like my lentils to be more free flowing than fluffy. To get this effect, I over cook the lentils just slightly (some of them will be starting to break apart) and I finish with a squeeze of tomato paste, a splash of water and a knob of butter.


Next on to the chops. No salt needed - they have already been cured. I just rubbed the barest amount of grapeseed oil on each chop and then on to the grill for about five or six minutes per side. I also tossed some blanched and shocked asparagus onto the grill. Once done, slice meat off the bone and assemble everything on a warm platter. The chef gets first crack at gnawing on the bone. Smoked pork chops - verdict - salty, tender, juicy and delicious. I wouldn't recommend eating in large quantities if you're trying to keep you sodium levels down. I can also tell that saltpeter aka potasium nitrate was used in the brine as the meat remained a lively pink after cooking (this is not possible if saltpeter is not present-the meat will be grey).

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