There's probably a bottle of pure maple syrup in your refrigerator right now, awaiting your next batch of pancakes. But, if that's all you're using it for, you're missing out. Here, the maple syrup adds an earthy sweetness to the dish and its flavor pairs well with pork and peppery spices like ginger. This method is also a good way to cook very thin pork chops without drying them out.
Rinse the pork chops and pat them dry. Put the flour on a plate. Combine the broth or water, rum, and maple syrup in a measuring cup or small bowl; set aside. Generously season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the chops in the flour and shake off the excess.
Heat a large (10 or 12 inch) skillet on medium-high heat for 1 min. Add the olive oil, and when it’s hot, set the chops in the pan (if they won’t fit without crowding, cook them in batches). Cook until one side is light golden, about 2 min. Turn the pieces and cook until the other side is light golden and the meat is cooked through but still moist, another 1 to 2 min. (Because the meat is so thin, it can’t get more than light golden on each side without becoming overcooked and dry.) Transfer the chops to a plate and repeat with the remaining chops, if necessary.
Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and stir constantly until they begin to turn golden, 5 to 10 seconds, and then immediately add the maple-rum mixture to the pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits and help them dissolve. Boil until the sauce has reduced by about two-thirds and is nicely saucy, 3 to 4 min. Off the heat, add the butter, swirling the pan vigorously (or whisking) as it melts so it emulsifies the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over the pork and then sprinkle on the cilantro and mint. Serve right away.
Serve with Brown Rice with Walnuts and Golden Raisins and Roasted Green Beans.
nutrition information (per serving):
using 2-oz. pork chops, Calories
30, Fat Calories
270, Saturated Fat
27, Monounsaturated Fat
23, Polyunsaturated Fat
Photo: Scott Phillips