Ginger-Soy Glazed Pork Chops Over Wilted Spinach

by feastonthecheap on March 22, 2011

Mariel here. In my opinion, pork chops taste best when grilled…during a backyard BBQ…in 80-degree weather. Unfortunately for those of us who live in a cooler climate – or a tiny apartment – abiding by a grill-only preparation means never enjoying The Other White Meat. Chicken, fish, veggies and grains make up the vast majority of my weekly intake and although there’s plenty you can do with that broad of a spectrum, sometimes you just need something a little heartier to sink your teeth into.

While my mom is a pork chop pro, I’ve had my fair share of gaffes, including a memorable-for-the-wrong-reasons meal served to company. About a year ago, I invited a good friend over for dinner – she’s a fan of Feast so I’m sure she was expecting something scrumptious. Smug in my newfangled culinary skills, I decided to try out a new recipe starring a meat I’d never cooked with. Genius, I know. I marinated the pork chops in some awful apple cider/mustard concoction then popped them in the oven and expected a Michelin star to spring forth.

They were god-awful. The meat was dry, tough and chewy, and the marinade added a strange tongue-numbing bitterness, like unsuspectingly biting into a Sichuan Pepper. I also managed to screw up the creamed butternut squash, though I blame that on the vegetable: there was no amount of browned butter and sugar that could make up for its naturally stringy consistency. I haven’t since served pork to unsuspecting guests and I’ve been quietly attempting to master the art of the grill-free chop ever since.

At long last, I’ve finally whipped up a creation that I consider Feast-worthy: the key is marinading the chops in a spicy-sweet sauce and pan-searing – not oven-baking – the meat to seal in flavor without eliminating all of its natural juices. If the marinade seems familiar it’s because it was inspired by mom’s famous Herb & Honey-Marinated Sirloin, which could make a slice of shoe leather taste delicious. If you have any porky tips, do tell!

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Ginger-Soy Glazed Pork Chops Over Wilted Spinach
Serves 4

Ingredients:
4 boneless pork chops – about ¾-inch thick – $3.99
10-oz bag of fresh spinach, washed and trimmed – $1.99
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock – stock
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated – $0.89
2 cloves of garlic, minced or smashed – stock
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (preferably low-sodium) – stock
1 Tablespoon honey – stock
½ teaspoon wasabi (I always save the little wasabi tubs whenever I order Japanese takeout) – $2.59
1 Tablespoon of olive oil – stock
Grand total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $9.46
Cost per serving: $2.36

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, soy sauce, wasabi, honey, ginger and chicken stock. In a sealable Zip-Lock bag, combine the pork chops and the marinade, making sure they’re coated evenly and on all sides – seal the bag. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.

2. After the meat has marinated, heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably not non-stick) over med-high heat. Once the oil is hot, saute the pork chops, reserving the remaining marinade in the plastic bag. Saute the pork until cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside on a clean plate and allow to rest.

3. After sauteeing the chops, add the fresh spinach and 1 Tablespoon of the marinade to the same skillet and saute for about 2 minutes, until the spinach wilts, Stir frequently to prevent burning. Set aside.

4. Next, add the marinade to the same skillet and gently boil over medium heat until it thickens and reduces slightly, about a minute. Scrape up any dripping from the bottom so they get incorporated into the glaze.

5. Serve the pork chops on a bed of spinach and drizzle with the glaze.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Blog is the New Black March 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

This looks amazing! I love pork chops but usually rely on the original white meat. I made a panko-parm pork milanese on Sunday evening which was great. My tip is to buy the thin tenderloins, which only need like 3 minutes on each side. It’s easy to dry pork out! I bookmarked this recipe and will be bumping it up! ;)

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Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels March 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Wow that looks amazing! The marinade sounds so flavorful and sooo good. :)

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Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. March 22, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Love this one! I will be making it for sure!

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Lana @ Never Enough Thyme March 22, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Mariel – I can totally empathize with you on the trying out a new recipe with guests. I learned the hard way, too :-) Every since that disastrous dinner, I’ve always tested recipes on the family first.

This combination with soy, garlic and wasabi sounds especially tasty. Can’t wait to give it a try soon!

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Shaina March 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

These look lovely, and what a great use of spring spinach!

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Jenn from Much to My Delight March 22, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Just discovered your blog, and I’m so glad that I did! My mother is the one who inspired my love for cooking and I love the fact that a mother and daughter co-write this blog together. Plus: I can definitely relate to cooking in a small NYC kitchen! Can’t wait to follow along!

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feastonthecheap March 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm

We are so glad you found us! Sounds like we all have a lot in common, having learned from our moms and their moms. Mariel and I do love working together and it’s been so much fun watching and teaching Mariel as she learns all about my abiding love for all-things-food. Loved hearing from you and if you ever have any questions or suggestions, we’re all ears. Cheers! Mary Anne and Mariel

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Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen March 23, 2011 at 12:16 am

Looks like a perfect pork chop to me! I’m getting a whole pork from the butcher in a couple of weeks so I will be sure to give this a try!

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Mandy - The Complete Cook Book March 23, 2011 at 6:38 am

What a winner of a recipe! Wish I could get decent pork here.
:-) Mandy

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Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food March 23, 2011 at 6:50 am

We make pork chops often at our house, and this lovely recipe has shot straight to the top of my must-make list. Your observations about baked pork chops, my husband’s preferred approach, are so right too. The taste and texture is so much better when they are grilled on the stove top or BBQ.

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Elizabeth March 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

It took a while for me to recover from the dried out pork chops I was served as a kid, but now they’re my favorite. Your chop looks delicious. What a great, seasonal dish!

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Chelsea @ Sprinkles of Parsley March 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

I LOVE this recipe! I’m not usually a fan of pork shops, but with this marinade I think I can grow to love them! Especially with the flavored spinach… such a great recipe!

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Maria March 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Fantastic meal!

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Julie M. March 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Pork is a tricky wicket. I struggle with getting it done just right as well. This version, however, looks like it was cooked up just perfect. Beautiful recipe!

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Nutmeg Nanny March 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm

I just found your site and I love it! I also really like the idea of letting your readers know how much the meals will cost to prepare.

I feel your pain about serving a bad meal for guests. I think we have all been there…eek!

I’m also totally digging these pork chops. We eat a lot of pork and I’m always looking for a new recipe to try.

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Heather Davis March 25, 2011 at 9:55 am

You are right pork chops are really hard to get right. I tend to fry them in a pan but they can easily become over-cooked. We have pigs so obviously have a lot of pork! I will definitely give this recipe a go. I love asian inspired marinades.

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Elle March 28, 2011 at 11:20 am

Wow, that marinade sounds fabulous! And the chops are gorgeous. Sorry about that dinner party fail!

My fave way to cook chops (boneless, because I hate fighting with a bone) is to start with an oven safe skillet. Chops should be fairly thick–about 1-1/2″. Season how ever you like. Oven at 375, skillet heating on med high. Add some oil to the hot skillet, let it get hot, then add your chops. About 4 minutes on first side, 3-4 mins on second side, then finish in the oven for another 4-5 minutes, depending on thickness. They should be 160 degrees when checked, remove from oven, remove from pan, and let them rest for 5-10 mins. Perfect!

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feastonthecheap March 28, 2011 at 11:46 am

Thank you Elle, I’ll give this way a whirl next time I’m pork-chopping!

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