For a topping on his Vietnamese-inspired pork chops, Ken Oringer turned to beef jerky, which is sold in bulk at Costco. The pork chops have to marinate overnight, so plan accordingly.Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
In a mini food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the oil and process to a paste. Put the pork chops in a large, shallow dish and coat with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat to dissolve the sugar. Simmer, without stirring, until an amber caramel forms, about 8 minutes. Add the lemongrass and ginger and slowly pour in the vinegar and fish sauce, stirring, until the sauce is clear. Add the pepper and remove from the heat.
Heat the 1/4 cup of oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the garlic and oil to a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400°. In each of 2 large skillets, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Scrape some of the marinade off the pork chops. Add 6 chops to each skillet and cook over high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the chops for 10 minutes, or until barely pink in the center. Transfer the chops to a large platter and spoon the caramel sauce on top. Drain the fried garlic and scatter it over the chops, along with the peanuts and chives. Garnish with the jerky and serve at once.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated over-night. Reheat the sauce and garlic before serving.
Steamed bok choy.
An off-dry, fruity Riesling will balance the tangy, salty and sweet flavors here. Try a fresh, light example from New Zealand.