I love Ming Tsai, I have probably mentioned this before. Though he’s a celebrity chef, has his own cooking show, has been on Iron Chef (and won, beating Bobby Flay), and has guest judged on Top Chef; he only owns one restaurant, which I find pretty admirable. He cooks there every day, unlike many celebrity chefs that own 10 restaurants and don’t really cook at any of them. And, Ming’s restaurant happens to be in my hometown (yes we’re on a first name basis in my head). I love his French-Asian fusion, even though it might seem overdone, he was one of the first to do it. And I love how his cookbooks are set up: one master sauce with 3-4 different recipes to make with it.
For gourmet on a budget I present his pork chops with ginger-fuji apple sauce. You can make extra chutney and use it for other recipes, like I did for this, which I brought to a Superbowl party (huge hit, by the way). The recipe includes maple sweet potatoes, but I’m not a huge fan of sweet presentations of squashes so I didn’t make it. This can be served with a simple side salad, which might add a dollar to the cost. The key to the recipe is cooking the pork chops so they don’t dry out. I have the secret to do it, but you gotta read the recipe details to find out.
Budget: $12, serves approximately 4, so $3 a serving.
Recipe details after the jump.
A regular feature in which I cook cheap, gourmet dishes.
- 3 fuji apples (about $3)
- 1/2 a lemon (about $.30)
- .5 tbsp + 2 tbsp canola oil (pantry)
- 1 onion (pantry)
- 1 tbsp minced ginger (about $.15)
- .5 cup rice wine vinegar ($3 for a 10 oz bottle, about $1.2o for serving)
- .5 cup apple juice (about $.40)
- 1lb pork chops (about $5)
- 1 cup of flour (pantry)
- 1 cup chicken broth ($2 for 4 cups with my VIC card, $.50 for serving)
- 1 cup white wine ($6.50 for Yellowtail Pinot Grigio – about $1.50 for serving)
- 1 tbsp butter (pantry)
- salt and pepper (pantry)
Total: $12.05, so I went over by 5 cents, not the end of the world.
First, make the Ginger Fuji Chutney (you can make extra and use it for other preparations), you can also make ahead, it tastes better as the flavors get to talk to each other –
- Peel, core, and chop apples
into small dice (about .25 inch), toss in lemon juice in a medium bowl.
- Dice onion to same size as apples; mince ginger.
- Heat .5 tbsp canola oil in a medium sauce pan. Saute ginger and onion in the sauce pan until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add apples, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Add rice wine vinegar and apple juice, simmer until liquid is reduced by 3/4, about 30 minutes. Re-season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Now the pork:
- Season both sides with salt and pepper, dredge in flour (the recipe calls for this, but I didn’t feel like dredging, so I didn’t). Heat saute pan with 2 tbsp of canola oil.
- Sear pork chops on both sides until brown: about 3-4 minutes each side. My chops were thin enough that I didn’t need to finish cooking them in the oven, but if yours are thicker I would heat your oven to about 400 and continue cooking them in the oven for 5-1o minutes, depending on thickness.
- The secret to having juicy pork chops is to take them off of the heat while they’re still a bit under-cooked and let them rest on a plate, the heat of the chops will continue to cook them but since it’s indirect heat they won’t be dry.
- To finish the “apple sauce” – in the same pan you cooked the chops, remove some of the fat if desired but don’t you dare wash it, there’s all that yummy stuff at the bottom of the pan that will add to the sauce – add the wine and chicken stock to deglaze the pan. Scrape up the browned bits on the pan.
- Let the liquid boil and reduce by half, about 5 minutes. Then add your chutney and a tbsp of butter (unsalted please) and cook until chutney is warm again. Return any juices that have accumulated on the plate the pork was resting on to the pan. Before serving, check for seasoning and if necessary, add salt and pepper.
- Serve pork chop with the ginger apple sauce mounded on top. Eat with a good piece of bread (you’ll want that to sop up the extra sauce) and/or a simple side salad.
Mmmm, this recipe is good. It’s a real keeper. There’s just something about a pan sauce that I love, that goodness at the bottom of the pan adds so much dimension to a sauce. And if you make the chutney ahead of time, it takes about 20 minutes to make.