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The Perfect Pork Chop Dinner

The perfect pork chop dinner begins with the perfect pork chop. Getting one is easy: simply ask your butcher (most supermarket meat counter will also do this) to cut your chops from a bone-in rack. They should not be too thick; ask the butcher to cut them “short 3/4 inch”, or, if you prefer, a “good half inch” will do just fine.

The chop will have an “eye” surrounded by a “cap” of layered meat and fat and can look a little intimidating, but proceed with good courage. In a heavy skillet that is just large enough to accommodate all the chops you plan to cook, heat a good quarter inch of peanut oil until the oil is lightly smoking. Place the chops in the oil. Smoke and oil spray will ensue, so you may want to open a window or turn on the fan in your hood.

Season the chops liberally with salt and black pepper and check the side that’s facing the pan. After only a minute or so it should be quite brown. If it is, flip the chops and once again season with salt and pepper. After another minute, when the other side is also brown, reduce heal to low and remove the chops, placing them on a cutting board. Using a small sharp knife, remove the caps from the chops and slice them across the grain into quarter inch strips. Place the chops and the sliced caps back into the pan, cover, and cook on low to medium heat for about 30 minutes. This will render the fat from the caps and guarantee that the chops are fully cooked, even near the bone. Since the chops are cooking substantially in their own fat, this will give them that famous fork-tender”confit” texture and flavor.

After 30 minutes, taste one of the strips for tenderness and seasoning and adjust as needed. Remove the chops and cover. Increase heat to medium high and add a good cup or so of thickly sliced champignon mushrooms. Keep cooking while stirring the meat strips and the mushrooms until the mushrooms shrink and become golden in color. The high heat will take care of evaporating any liquid that the mushrooms put out. Taste the mushrooms for doneness and seasoning. They should be firm, not squishy, but also not squeaky hard.

Turn the heat off, add the chops back to the pan and cover for a minute just to reheat. Serve the chops with the mushrooms next to a side dish such as mashed potatoes or French fries. Enjoy!

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