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January 23, 2008

The Wisdom of Briny Water . . . and Pork Chops


Most people would probably be shocked to learn that wisdom can sometimes come from a bowl of briny water, but then again most people might be surprised to learn that the sky’s blue color is merely the optical effect of water refracted through light. These things, as with everything, we must take in stride.


The bowl of briny water, for our purposes, is merely the starting point to our path of enlightenment. Into that water, you see, you will drop a boneless pork chop that you have previously hammered into a state of flatness. Once properly soaked, which will take 30 to 45 minutes, remove the chop from the water and lay it out flat.


It appears to be a scroll like those used in the days of old, when the ancients would impart their wisdom with quill and ink. So shall you impart a measure of wisdom, using instead herbs, goat cheese and rice rather than the quill and ink.


Pat the pork parchment dry with a paper towel and sprinkle generously with crushed herbs. In these cases, one recommends oregano, thyme and crushed rosemary. A little ground black pepper and a modest amount of salt would not be too great an insult.


What comes next are a couple of spoons of cooked brown rice mixed with crumbled goat cheese. It is a zesty cheese that will play well with the herbs, able to hold its own and make its own statement.


Heat some oil in a skillet on high, and also turn your oven to 375 degrees. The skillet must be hot before you take the next step, because the meat will touch the heated side for only a short period of time.


While the pan heats, rolled the flattened pork over the rice, herbs and goat cheese and create what appears to be a pocket. It is a pocket of flavor, and those who read it by fork and knife will need to clearly understand what you’ve forged in the fires of stovetop and oven.


When your pan is properly heated, lay your pork chop in the oil for just a moment. Do not let the meat stick for too long in one place, but instead constantly move it around to give it a right and proper browning on all sides. You do not wish it to actually cook, but that it might instead create a seal for any of the moisture tempted to flee in the face of the oven’s heat.


Once properly seared, lay your stuffed pork chop into an oven-safe dish and place it in the center of the oven. The heat of the oven, designed to cook over a longer period of time, will help heat thoroughly all the way through.


After about 15 minutes, the meat will be cooked all the way through, and the rice, herbs and goat cheese will have had a chance to meet each other and properly mingle. Unravel this scroll with knife and fork, and let the wisdom contained therein flow forth.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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