Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Homemade Chile Jam

Thick and juicy pork chops get some Thai flair with a spicy yet slightly sweet chile jam. This jam incorporates the best flavors of Thai cuisine: pungent tamarind, sweet palm sugar, bold Thai chiles and refreshing galangal (see below on where to find it!).

Recipe courtesy Susan Vu for Cooking Channel
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 25 min
Inactive Prep: 5 min
Cook: 1 hr
 
YIELD: 4 servings (with leftover chile jam)
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

CHILE JAM:
  • 18 dried Thai bird or chile de arbol chiles
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 3 shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons palm sugar, depending on how sweet you want the jam
  • 1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste
  • One 1-inch piece galangal, peeled and finely grated (about 3 tablespoons)
    PORK CHOPS:
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • Four 1-inch-thick pork chops (about 2 1/2 pounds)
    • Kosher salt
    • 3/4 cup chicken stock
    • Serving suggestions: Thai sticky rice and steamed snow peas
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      Directions

      For the chile jam: Using a sharp paring knife, remove the stems from all of the chiles. Cut 9 of the chiles down the center lengthwise and remove the seeds. This amount of chiles will give you a very spicy jam. If you prefer a milder jam, remove the seeds from all of the chiles.

      Toast the chilies in a large saute pan over medium heat until their skins darken slightly but are still mostly red in color and become slightly brittle, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chiles to a large plate.

      Add the vegetable oil and garlic to the same pan and cook until the garlic is just starting to brown around the edges, for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to the plate with the chiles. Add the shallots and cook until lightly browned around the edges and slightly crispy, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the shallots to the same plate with a slotted spoon. Add the dried shrimp and cook until lightly browned and slightly crispy, for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the dried shrimp to the same plate with a slotted spoon. Turn off the heat, reserving the pan and oil.

      In a food processor, grind the chiles, garlic, shallots, dried shrimp, fish sauce, tamarind, palm sugar, shrimp paste, galangal and 1/4 cup water to a paste that still has some texture.

      Return the same pan to medium-low heat and add the chile paste to the reserved oil. Cook the paste for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the paste has turned a deep red color and the mixture has reduced slightly. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.

      For the pork chops: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

      Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large saute pan. Sprinkle the pork chops liberally with kosher salt. Add the pork chops to the pan and brown on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat off and transfer the pork chops to a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 140 degrees F, for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

      While the pork chops are resting, make a pan sauce with the chile jam. Pour out any oil that is left in the pork pan. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any pork remnants that were left at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Reduce by half, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the chile jam and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

      Serve the pork chops topped with the pan sauce. Thai sticky rice and steamed snow peas would make nice accompaniments to this dish.

      Cook's Notes: This recipe will leave you with leftover chile jam. The jam will keep in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 weeks. It is great added to stir-fries or as an accompaniment to any protein such as beef or chicken.

      Galangal can be found at Asian markets; however, you may substitute an equal amount of fresh ginger if you cannot find it fresh.

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      • on March 05, 2013

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        Have I tried this recipe-shamefully no, because I don't understand the authors directions with respect to "dried chilies"? While a very generic ingredient, when talking Chinese, usually one is talking about the small dryed red "thai bird's eye" chilies. They are already brown, so how one would know when they get any "browner" is beyond me. This is certainly not a personal attack on the author, but rather an attempt to find some common ground when using the word "chili"! I really just wanted the "Chile Jam" recipe. We flip between cuisines from Mexican to Thai, and beyond, weekly, and it is bad enough to understand Mexican/Californian definitions for "chilies". Keep on truck'in!

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