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Grilled 5-Spice Pork Chops

Grilled 5-Spice Pork Chops
T-bone pork chops, also called bone-in center-cut chops, are wonderful because you get both a little of the loin and a little of the tenderloin. Juicy and aromatic, these Asian-inspired chops go surprisingly well with applesauce. Do not worry if your kids declare them too exotic before they try them. After just one taste, they will be back for more.

Ingredients:

For the chunky applesauce:

  • 4 Fuji or Braeburn apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 4 to 6 T-bone pork chops, each about 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 tsp. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil for the grill

Directions:

To make the applesauce, peel, quarter and core each apple and then cut into chunks. You should have about 4 cups diced apples. Place in a saucepan, add the sugar, 1/4 cup water, the lemon juice and salt and stir well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the apples are tender, about 30 minutes. If the apples begin to dry out before they are ready, add a little more water.

Uncover the pan and mash the apples lightly with a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Continue to cook for 5 minutes more to evaporate some of the excess moisture. The applesauce should be thick. Remove from the heat and serve warm or chilled.

Meanwhile, place the pork chops in a nonreactive dish. In a small bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, 5-spice powder, olive oil and a few grinds of coarsely ground pepper. Rub the ginger mixture evenly over both sides of the chops, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Make sure the grill rack is clean, then oil it with vegetable oil and let the oil burn off for 5 minutes.

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt. Place on the grill rack and cook, turning once, until etched with grill marks, golden and light pink at the center when cut into with a knife, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a warmed platter and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Pass the applesauce at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Family Meals, by Maria Helm Sinskey (Oxmoor House, 2008).