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
      recipe tools

      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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