Marinating meat before it hits a hot grill adds so much enjoyable taste and texture, but using it as a sauce afterwards, gives it another delightful bonus in my book. Usually after we marinate meat, chicken, or fish, we toss away the marinade because it has been exposed to a raw product, but if we cook it down in a saucepan, it’s perfectly safe and most delicious to use. Asian flavored marinades are perfect candidates for this practice because they are loaded with pantry items like ginger, garlic, soy sauce and in this recipe, jalapenos, which cook down into a scrumptious sauce.
One of my favorite pieces of meat is a thick-cut pork chop. Using thicker cuts of meat allow for a juicer texture and also are a little more forgiving if you tend to overcook your food. I prefer the bone-in varieties because they offer more porky flavor and are just all-around much more tasty.
In this recipe I used a grill pan, because I don’t have a grill set up in my Santa Ynez home just yet, but you can cook these chops up in minutes on an outdoor grill. The marinade just needs to be reduced slightly on the stove top and can be done, while your chops are cooking. Garlicky sautéed spinach was my side dish with these substantial chops, giving them nice balance with each bite. You can double the chops in recipes for larger groups or gatherings.
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small jalapeno, sliced
1/4 cup sesame oil or vegetable oil
2 large thick-cut pork chops
6 cups baby spinach
1 clove sliced garlic
big pinch of salt
oil for cooking
- In a large casserole dish with fitted lid, add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, jalapeno and sesame oil, stir. Add chops and toss to coat on both sides. Place lid over top and refrigerate at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Remove chops from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat grill or grill pan until hot, about 400 degrees. Pour marinade in saucepan and place over low heat until simmering.
- Oil grates with towel and place chops on grill. Cook for 4-5 minutes on first side, adjusting heat if necessary. Flip and cook 4 minutes on second side.
- Remove chops and let cool on board. Cook sauce until reduced by half. In a separate pan, add 2 teaspoon oil and place over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add spinach and toss with tongs. Cook for 3 minutes, just until wilted. Sprinkle with salt, stir.
- Serve chops with sauce over top and a side of spinach. Enjoy!