Sunday, December 20, 2009

Recipe: Pork Chop Sauté With Kombucha Reduction

You can cook with kombucha. It winds up tasting suspiciously like apple cider, even though it contains absolutely no apples! It does lose some of its wonderful healthy properties when you cook it, since the heat kills the friendly bacteria, but if you're making your own kombucha like I am, you probably have some extra kombucha…

  • One-inch-thick pork chops (1 big chop per person)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat (lard or ghee or clarified butter)
  • Kombucha: approximately 2 oz. for each pork chop
  • Sea salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • A well-seasoned cast iron skillet large enough to hold all your chops without crowding them. (If you have too many chops, you can cook them in batches.)
  1. Preheat the skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

  2. Dry the pork chops on both sides with paper towels. Salt and pepper them judiciously.

  3. Put your cooking fat in the skillet. Use a fat that won't burn too quickly. Good lard is best. Ghee or clarified butter would work great too. If you have butter, it's pretty easy to clarify it—see here for example.

  4. Once the fat has melted, put the chops in the pan, with a bit of space between them.

  5. After 5 minutes, flip them. After 3 more minutes, cut into one and take a look. If it's still bloody, cook another minute or two and look again. If it's pink but not bloody, it's done—remove them to a plate. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook a bit after you remove it from the pan. If you overcook it, it will dry out, and you may be disappointed. (See Note About Undercooked Pork, below.)

  6. (Repeat for additional batches as needed, adding more fat if necessary.)

  7. When you are done cooking the chops, pour out most of the fat (save it to cook vegetables if you like). Pour the kombucha into the pan, over medium-high heat; stir it around with a wooden spoon, scraping up bits that are stuck to the pan; and cook until the sauce reaches the desired thickness, maybe a minute or two. Turn off the heat. Taste the sauce and season it as you like with salt and pepper if needed.

  8. Serve with sauerkraut, seared greens (cooked in lard), Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes (with lots of butter), or whatever you like.

  9. Why not wash it all down with some kombucha! Or hard apple cider.
Note About Undercooked Pork

In some countries, eating undercooked pork can give you a case of trichinosis. In the U.S., trichinosis is very rare (between 1997 and 2001, an average of 12 cases per year were reported). Freezing pork for at least 20 days at 5 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is sufficient to kill the larval worms that cause trichinosis. (reference)


Annabelle Ho said...

Interesting. Does the kombucha retain its fizz when heated?

Also, if you routinely find yourself with excess kombucha, you may consider occasionally storing your mushroom in the fridge, which will cause the mushroom to go dormant. My friend puts her finished kombucha, brewing vessel (a gallon jar), SCOBY, and all, into the fridge every time a batch is done, until she is ready to brew again. Or you could brew very small batches. But it's also fun to experiment with extra kombucha!

Alex Lewin said...

Hi Annabelle,

Yes, the fizz goes away pretty quickly when you start heating it. CO2 not very soluble in warm liquid. Pity--it would be cool to have fizzy sauce.

I've put my SCOBY in the fridge before, but never in its big jar. Probably because I never have room in my fridge for a big jar, because I always have so many other things going on in there. It's a good idea though. Easy way to slow down the pace of production a little bit. Maybe I'll start cleaning out the fridge...