Saturday, August 31, 2013

Orange-Glazed Pork Chops: A Recipe That Works

August 24, 2013

Orange-Glazed Pork Chops
Steamed White Rice
Sauteed Green Beans and Tomatoes
Gravenstein Applesauce
Vella Delicious White

Sauteed Green Beans and Tomatoes from 101 Cooking for Two

A few months ago so I described a recipe for orange-glazed pork chops. We've always enjoyed this, particularly the sweet and sour orange sauce. My first attempt at a version of the recipe that I could share didn't work out as the pork was over cooked and dry, a result that I attributed in part to pork being leaner today than when the recipe first came out.

Based on the results of my first test, I updated the recipe inspired in part by another pork chop recipe I had used last year. To prevent the thin supermarket pork chops from over cooking the chops are browned on one side only, then turned and simmered with the glaze until done. I also brined the chops to provide seasoning and some extra protection from dryng out. With these changes to the recipe, the pork chops came out reasonably tender, juicy, and well flavored. I am comfortable saying that the problems with the recipe revealed by my first attempt have been solved.

Returning from our camping trip last week we stopped in Sebastapol to purchase some Gravenstein apples. We were too late for the Gravenstein Apple Fair (maybe next year) but not too late to purchase some apples from a farm stand. These sweet tart apples ripen early and are available only in a few places and for just a short time. For dinner I made apple sauce with two of these apples. I peeled, cored, and cut the apples into rough ½–inch pieces which were cooked in a covered sauce pan with a little water and a pinch of salt on medium-low heat. They cooked in 10-15 minutes and I seasoned them with a little cinnamon-sugar. The tart apple sauce was a good addition to the meal and I always enjoy it with pork.

I generally don't do anything special with the vegetable course. This week I tried a recent recipe from the blog 101 Cooking for Two which combines green beans and tomatoes. One of the ingredients is RoTel, a canned combination of tomatoes and green chilies, which I had never used before. Even with the Mild version of RoTel the dish was spicier than we're used to for a vegetable course. It wasn't eye-watering nose-running hot but I think the dish would have been just as good without the chilies. The recipe makes 8 portions so we'll be having it as a side dish for several more meals.

The other side dish was steamed white rice which mixes well with many things. I mixed it with some of the glaze from the pork chops while Diane mixed with the the beans and tomatoes to temper their heat.

If I was developing recipes professionally then I might try some more variations to get even more tender pork shops with an even better glaze before I posted the recipe. I may still try some changes the next time I make it (maybe double-cut chops that can be browned on both sides, or fresh orange juice and some orange zest for the glaze) but for now it is good enough to post so you can enjoy this simple flavorful meal, too.

We had no left over pork chops, knowing from previous experience that it is hard to reheat these without producing dry, over cooked pork.  The Green Beans and Tomatoes recipe says it serves 8 and this seems accurate so there is plenty left over. We had them mixed with ground beef and leftover corn which made for a good main course. It was not as spicy and the sweetness of the corn was a nice addition.


  1. I think a gastrique ( sauce would go well with the pork (it seems very similar to what is being made anyway). It would then just be a matter of cooking the pork and pouring sauce over it, and perhaps brine the pork including oranges a few days before hand.

  2. Thanks, Caleb! I'll work on that. Do you really think it should sit in the brine for a few days?

    1. Once things equilibrate in the brine it does not matter how long it sits there. For a Sunday dinner I would start the brine Saturday morning and see how much flavors comes out, add more time if you want a bit more flavor.

    2. Here's a brine recipe that serve as a starting point: