Grow Easy Grilled Pork Chops with Bourbon Glazed Carrots
Growing up, pork chops were a staple in our house. But this normally meant a shake-n-bake coating which covered up the dry and overcooked meat. Since that time, two things have changed. First the USDA lowered their recommended safe cooking temperature for pork. Gone are the days of overcooking them intentionally.
Second, I became a convert to higher quality pasture raised meats. As manager of the Old Town Newhall Farmers Market, I was thrilled to welcome Harvest Gathering Farm to our market in 2018. They bring beef, pork, chicken, lamb and turkey to our market that are raised their entire lives in pasture. Studies continue to show that animals raised in this manner are better for us, better for the planet and better for the animal. It costs more to raise animals like this, but it provides a better option to horrible practices associated with cheap supermarket meats. Their meat is the only meat in our house.
Harvest Gathering Farm is the life dream of owner Wendy Marchant Kammermann. Her heritage breed pigs are a cross of Berkshire and Red Waddle. They live in organic orchards in Central California feasting on carrots as well as fruit and vegetable discards from farmers markets. They are supplemented with high quality feed free from corn, soy and GMOs. The animals are carefully managed and moved around the orchard often to mimic natural grazing movements. Controversial practices like gestation crates are not used.
Putting together a meal, we rely on many other farmers in our Saturday farmers market. Earlier this year, we were thrilled to welcome Sunrise Organic Farm from Santa Barbara County to our market. They grow a wide array of produce with a focus on quality. Almost all of their produce is picked Fridays, is immediately iced down and in our market the following morning. While they are famous for many things, their carrots are regarded as the best you can get. Supermarket carrots can spend months in cold storage before making it to supermarket shelves. This affects not only taste, but nutritional content. At our market, you are seeing things within hours of being picked, not weeks.
We are also thrilled to host a 4th generation family dairy from Petaluma, The Achadinha Cheese Company. We love cooking pork chops in their amazing butter. It is very high quality and has a smoke point higher than most oils. Many of our farmers grow fresh herbs which go well with the pork and butter saute.
We recommend pairing this recipe with a green salad. Our market hosts six different farmers that bring 27 different varieties of lettuces to our market. All of them are picked fresh, rushed to our market and have their own unique qualities. Iceberg lettuce is a perennial supermarket favorite because it is easy to grow, transports easily and can stand up to a lengthy storage. However, it lacks visual appeal, taste and significant nutrition. Because of this, you will not find our farmers selling this variety at our market. We have common varieties such as romaine as well as fancier lettuces such as speckled romaine, little gem, red oak and many types of salanova.
This recipe makes use of dry brining the pork. Seasoning and allowing meat to sit for up to a day helps develop a richer flavor and more juicier meat. The pork from our rancher is so flavorful we don’t like to use recipes on it that are full of ingredients. We focus instead on technique. Don’t be intimidated with our recipe, putting this together is quite easy.
Easy Pan-Seared Pork Chops
4 small pork chops,
about 2-3lbs total
3 T Kosher salt
2 T Sugar
¼ Cup butter
1 Shallot or head of garlic (optional)
1 bunch fresh thyme
Mix salt and sugar. Dry chops and generously season with mixture. Transfer to a plate or dish and leave uncovered (overnight) in fridge up to 24 hours.
After sitting, place chops onto a baking sheet and into a 250 degree preheated oven. Bake about 30 minutes, checking internal meat temperature toward the end. Remove from oven when internal temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet (we like cast iron) over high heat. When the butter is fully melted and the pan is hot, add chops. Allow to sear undisturbed for 90 seconds. Add shallots or garlic (if desired) and about a dozen sprigs of fresh thyme. Flip chops and continue cooking, spooning the butter/thyme over the chops as they cook. Remove from pan and set aside when internal temperature reaches 125 degrees. Allow to rest at least 3 minutes before serving. After putting onto plates, spoon remaining butter/thyme mixture over chops.
Bourbon Glazed Carrots
1 Large bunch of carrots,
tops trimmed and unpeeled
2 T Olive Oil
½ t paprika
Kosher salt and pepper
½ C Bourbon
¼ C Brown sugar
2 T Butter
2 T Orange juice
Toss carrots in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook in a 400 degree oven in a baking dish, tossing every 10 minutes, until fork tender (about 30 mins).
While in the oven, pour bourbon into a sauce pan and bring to a low boil. Cook until reduced by half.
Add sugar and stir, cooking for 3 minutes more.
Reduce heat to low and add butter and orange juice. When carrots are done, toss the carrots in the bourbon glaze. Pair with a simple green salad if desired and serve.
The Old Town Newhall Farmers Market is a certified farmers market bringing Santa Clarita true farm direct produce and the finest food products available in Santa Clarita. It operates year round, every Saturday from 8:30am until 1:00pm. It is located in the parking lot of the Old Town Newhall Library at 24500 Main Street in Newhall. They can be found on Facebook, Instagram or at www.newhallfarmersmarket.com.
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