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copyright ©1999-2007

back to basics:
ow to cook a

ork chop

by Yee-Fan Sun|
1 2

Though Iím not a vegetarian, for a long time, I have to admit, cooking meat intimidated me. My carnivorous culinary repertoire consisted almost entirely of variations on the boneless breast of chicken; on the rare occasions when I found myself hankering for something meatier, I simply went out. This, I began to realize, was really kind of lame. There are many good reasons not to cook meat, but fear-induced general cluelessness? Decidedly not one of them.

So in the past year or so, spurred in part by a need to get more protein efficiently into my system, Iíve been slowly figuring out what to do with non-chicken breast varieties of meat. And pork, Iíve discovered, is one of my favorites. Cooked properly, itís juicy and flavorful; depending on the cut, it can also be relatively lean and healthy. But perhaps one of my favorite things about pork is simple: itís really very affordable. The classic pork chop, in particular, offers an excellent, cheap way to get your carnivorous fix. Itís also fast and surprisingly easy to cook up, making it the perfect choice for time-strapped, budget-constrained quasi-adults, and a good basic recipe to have in your cooking arsenal.

Start with decent quality chops, of course, and youíre halfway there to a delicious dinner. Chops come from different parts of the pig, so do read the label. Center-cut or butterfly chops are the best choice; rib chops are also good. Just avoid the super-cheap shoulder/blade and loin-end chops, which tend to be a lot tougher. When youíre choosing your chops, youíll also want to look for nice fat ones if at all possible. The scrawny ¼Ē-1/2Ē thick ones will dry out way too quickly, resulting in a rather unappetizing, tough meal; something closer to the ¾Ē-1Ē range will make for much juicier, yummier chops. Finally, make sure the chops have a healthy fresh pinkish color; grayish-white is not a good hue for your meat.

Once youíve schlepped your chops home, hereís what to do with ĎemÖ

chop chop: this way for the recipe.

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