Quick Sichuan-Style Pork Chops.
Photo: Henri Hollis
Photo: Henri Hollis

Recipe: Make these quick, foolproof pork chops gone Sichuan

Even quicker cooking than a tenderloin, boneless pork chops are an excellent weeknight staple for anyone who’s a fan of the other white meat. Depending on their thickness, the chops cook through in 10 minutes or less. And, as most are cut from the lean, mild loin, boneless chops can take on just about any flavor you throw at them.

The only problem with boneless pork chops? They’ll go from tender to dry and rubbery in an instant, so it is critical to nail the cooking technique.

An easy method for doing so comes from the always meticulous recipe writers at America’s Test Kitchen, who give the chops a hard sear on one side and then finish them, relatively gently, in a thick, simmering glaze. You’ll still get that umami flavor from the initial sear, but won’t run the risk of overcooking while searing the second side.

This method also offers up a blank slate for glaze development. One can go German, with beer, cider vinegar and mustard; Spanish, with softrito and wine; or a mish-mash, with fresh herbs, balsamic and maple syrup.

Below, you’ll find a Sichuan-inspired recipe that makes use of a flavor-packed, mouth-numbing prepared pantry ingredient: Sichuan peppercorn, chile and black bean sauce. At Kroger stores in Atlanta, you’ll find it under the brand name Oriental Wok, but you can also use any chile- and garlic-based sauce. (If you’re cooking for kids, you’ll want to find something with a little less heat.) Whatever sauce you choose, it needs only to be mixed with a little vinegar and water to form the glaze mixture for the pork. A few scallions and a diced red pepper give the glaze color and a bit more heft, making this a complete meal when you steam a pot of rice on the side.

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