The other day we had five pieces of boneless, 3/4" thick, pork chops in the freezer. In my head I had originally planned to marinate them for at least three hours and then grill them right before dinner. Around lunchtime, I had cut out the grilling part from my plan since it just seemed like too much work for five pieces of chops. At about 5 o'clock, the marinating part was (obviously) out of the question since I was just pulling the chops out of the freezer. Teehee. Yes this always happens to me. My grand plans always somehow morph into less-than-an-hour meals. It's called cooking smart. Or lazy. It depends on your perspective. Minimal effort with maximum results. Like my college friend used to always say, "di bale nang tamad, di naman pagod." I say, if you come out with a tasty dish anyway, who can judge the method right?
So this is my easy baked pork chop dish. This can convincingly be presented as something you had marinated the whole day. With the addition of a few sides, like baked potatoes and some veggies, this would be a sure hit. Definitely works with rice too. I honestly just pulled together ingredients that I already had. The critical part to the success of my lazy cooking philosophy is always having a decent selection of seasonings and sauces on hand to get away with dishes like these.
- Ideally 6 porkchops (but I only had 5)
- 2 T soy sauce
- 4 T vegetable oil
- 2 T knorr liquid seasoning
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 t lemon juice concentrate (or 2 t of fresh lemon juice)
- 2 T brown sugar
- 4 T ketchup
- 6 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
- black pepper
2. Combine soy sauce, vegetable oil, knorr liquid seasoning, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, brown sugar, and ketchup in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
3. Pat your pork chops dry with a paper towel and lay them out on a non-stick baking tray. Season both sides of all the chops with freshly-cracked black pepper. Now pour about half of the sauce that you made over the pork chops.
4. Now turn all the chops and make sure that they are evenly coated in the sauce. Now dump in the whole garlic pieces. This simple addition will add a subtle flavor to the sauce later on.
5. "Tent" aluminum foil very loosely on the chops, making sure all the chops are covered, and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
6. After 30 minutes of baking, remove the foil and drain all the liquid from the pan. Now pour over the remaining half of the sauce, again covering and turning the chops, and bake uncovered for another 20-30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
7. I stop baking them them just before the chops are completely cooked, and then I broil the chops for 5 minutes on each side. You can choose to forego this step and just simply bake it until cooked through. I like broiling them just because, it add a little crispness to the fat on the pork chop (hands down, my favorite part!) and deepens the color of the glaze on the pork chop.
8. You can stop here and serve the dish, or if you'd like to go the extra mile, you could de-glaze the drippings with a little red wine (preferred), white wine, or any cooking wine you want or have. It's just a matter of transferring the drippings into another pan, adding your wine of choice, and reducing the sauce. It just gives the dish that added oomph.
I personally, foregoed reducing the sauce (because I was lazy, hence the name of the dish) and just poured the leftover sauce from the baking tray over my finished pork chops.
Even without the reduction, you still end up with a tangy, flavorful, and well-balanced dish that is both savory and slightly sweet. The balsamic vinegar together with the roasted garlic gives a wonderful depth to this dish and subtly adds another level of flavor. You don't even have to serve the garlic pieces with the the chops since not everyone is crazy over garlic. You can just pick 'em out and set them aside. I personally love garlic, plus it's supposedly really good for the heart, so I just serve it anyway. I like multiple layers of flavor. That's one thing that's consistent about my cooking. Yep I'm asian through and through.
Also, my instant-read thermometer decided to die that day, so I kind of just felt my way through it. My actual baking time came up to approximately 50 minutes plus the 10-minute broiling period, if that helps anyone. The only tricky part about this dish is ensuring that it's cooked just right. There is that danger of slightly under cooking or over cooking it since the reddish-brown glaze on the chops can be quite deceptive. BUT if you get that part down pat, then you're golden.
I hope you guys enjoy this dish as much as I did. You can add this to your weekday cooking arsenal if and when you run out of ideas.
~ Mich :)