Saturday, October 20, 2012

San Francisco Chops

Why is this recipe called San Francisco Chops?  I really don’t know.  When we were in San Fran a couple of years ago, I didn’t see any restaurants touting this as their signature dish.  We didn’t hear about it at Fisherman’s Wharf.  I don’t think the flavors inherently scream SAN FRANCISCO.  So what is the answer, then?
To be perfectly honest, I found this recipe many moons ago, and wondered the same thing.  I was living in Florida, and really learning a lot about cooking and how important it is to use quality ingredients.  But in all of that time, I had never come across anything that led me to believe San Francisco had a certain flavor equated to it.  Not like Louisiana, which is known for its Creole cooking; or Memphis, which is widely known for its barbecue.  Every time I made this dish, I would ponder the question yet again.  I became somewhat obsessed with it, and admittedly, it drove me a little crazy because I couldn’t find the answer.  Finally, I had to admit defeat.  You have no idea how much it really bothers me when I have to give up.  I am a very determined, okay, stubborn person, and once I sink my teeth into something, I have a hard time letting go.  I even considered not making these anymore because the not knowing was driving me to insanity.  But, these pork chops are just too darn good!  It would be a crime to never fix them again.  So, I told myself that whoever came up with these decided to mess with the minds of future cooks by giving it a completely random name.  What a sick and twisted individual that was, and what a cruel prank to obsessive people like me.  Hey, I don’t care if that’s the case or not, it worked for my particular brand of crazy, so I’m rolling with it.  In the end, the only thing that mattered was just how good this recipe is.
Here’s the Cast of Characters

4 - 6 Pork chops, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Teaspoons minced garlic
Lawry's season salt and pepper (not pictured because I forgot to take them out of the cupboard)
1 1/4 Cup chicken broth
1/4 Cup low-sodium soy sauce
2/3 Cup brown sugar
1 - 2 Teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want the dish.  I use 1 1/2)
2 Tablespoons cornstarch and enough water to make a thick liquid - about 1/2 cup (optional)

Heat oil in skillet, add chops and season lightly with Lawry's and pepper.

Brown on both sides - about 5 minutes.

Move chops apart, and add garlic. 

Saute for 1 minute, stirring frequently, being careful not to let it burn.

Once it starts to brown a little, turn down to low while you prepare the sauce.

In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, soy sauce, brown sugar and red pepper flakes.  Mix well.

Pour over the chops.

Cover tightly, and cook on medium heat, for 30 - 35 minutes.  Turn occasionally so the pork soaks up the sauce evenly.

Once the chops are completely cooked, you can either turn the skillet to medium high heat, and let the sauce boil and thicken on its own, which is what I did, or you can pull the chops out and thicken with cornstarch mixture.  If you let it reduce and thicken on it's own, it will only take about 5 minutes.

Once sauce is thickened, pour over the pork chops, and serve.