A cooking and baking journal

Blazing Through "Braising"

5/24/09: Pork Chop Supreme and Long Grain White and Wild Rice

  • Meal details: Main course, Pork Chop Supreme -- boneless, loin pork chops braised with ketchup and topped off with one slice of onion and lemon and a pinch of brown sugar
Side dish, Wild Rice -- boxed rice from Gordon's Food Service.

  • Recipe sources: Annemarie's Betty Crocker cookbook was where I found the pork chop recipe. The wild rice mix we had for a side dish was a boxed rice from Gordon's Food Service.
  • Defining moments: First time cooking with pork chops and first time baking rice in the oven. (I've only done it on the stove top before.)
  • What I learned: I was introduced to many new things this Sunday. First, I learned that there are three different types of pork chops: shoulder, sirloin, and loin; the third being the most tender because it has the least amount of connective tissue. I used a boneless loin cut for my pork chop recipe.
I also learned what the word "braising" meant. Braising is a cooking technique where the meat (or vegetable) is seared and then later left to simmer with a bit of liquid (typically water or stock) with the pan cover on. This technique allows tougher cuts of meats to become more tender and gives richness to the entire dish because the ingredients have time to intermingle. I was very interested in learning about braising because I realized I have been doing it for years when cooking ground beef. My family likes to use partially frozen meat products when cooking because we find it less messy. (I never like those raw meat juices dripping on the kitchen counter!) Since we use meat in this state we always need to add a bit of water to the covered skillet in order for the meat to quickly, and thoroughly, thaw. In other words, BRAISING. So very interesting, don't you think?

Because I cooked some wild rice for a side dish I decided to read up on this type of rice and find out why it is called "wild." This is what I found. Ahem. Wild rice (aka Canada rice, Indian rice, and water oats) is the name given to four different species that make up the genus Zizania. Three of these species are native to North America and the fourth is native to Asia. Why is it called wild? I couldn't find any source that would answer this question directly, but from what I have read it is because these four species tend to grow along slow-flowing streams and small lakes.

  • Any modifications? Nope. Did everything according to the recipe.
  • How it tasted? I had rave reviews about these pork chops! They were fantastically tender and full of flavor. The brown sugar and lemon really made it special. The wild rice was a bit hard to chew (that is how wild rice is), but it was mighty tasty.
  • How about a 2nd time? Absolutely for the chops, but the wild rice will probably be replaced with a softer variety.

Here are the chops simmering away in our nonstick dutch oven. Boy, it seems like I have to pull that dutch oven out every time I cook!

I'm sorry I wasn't able to take a photo of the wild rice I made--they took a little bit longer than I thought so my mind was more on them being done than on photos! But here is a reference photo from Uncle Ben's website to give you a picture of what I made. My rice resembles it very well.

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