The profound ups and downs of pork chops and pineapple

Making this meal put my emotions on a roller coaster ride. Thankfully it was the type of ride that as soon as you’re finished, you run to get right back in line.

It started with the build up of anticipation. The second I saw this recipe for Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice on The Pioneer Woman’s blog, I immediately posted it to my friend Oliver’s Facebook page with the question, “Should we make this?!” I got back an almost instant reply of “Yes. Like now.” Even though it would be pure torture to wait a whole week, we planned to make it for our next Gossip Girl extravaganza.

I was so excited by the pictures Ree posted, that the next day I couldn’t help but show all the girls in my office so they could drool with me. My friend Ariel, whose desk is right by mine, was immediately hooked. I promised I would tell her the following week if it lived up to the hype, but she told me, in no uncertain terms, that it looked so good, she was going to beat me to making it.

And she did. Two days later she was nonchalantly eating her leftovers for lunch while I hovered enviously near her desk waiting for her recipe feedback. In between bites of rice and pork, Ariel confirmed that the recipe was equally easy and delicious.

Oliver and I spent the next few days eagerly discussing how magical “pork chop night” was going to be. Then — finally!! —  the big day arrived.

If I'm cooking, you can bet that there will be beer involved. That is a promise.

We convened at my house, where I had the rice already cooked and cooled. Oliver arrived with pork chops (we decided to go for boneless chops just because) and a jar of pimentos. We got down to business.

I pounded the chops just a bit and Oliver started cutting the pineapple into chunks. We weren’t ambitious enough to grill it, so we just cranked up a heavy skillet and sautéed the fruit until it was tender with a nice golden color. While that was working, we seared up the pork chops in a separate pan, added the onions and let it cook down into awesome-ness. The smell was overwhelmingly good.

Then came the wet ingredients (honey, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar). The pork chops actually cooked pretty quickly so we removed them and let the sauce cook down with just the onions. Once it had thicken, we poured it on top of the pork chops in a bowl while we got rolling on the fried rice.

Look at how pretty this fried rice is!

Here’s where things took a sudden dive. We cooked the rice exactly as instructed and it certainly looked divine, but when we tasted it, the flavor was a bit flat. It just wasn’t quite snappy enough. We were panicking…well, I was panicking — Oliver wasn’t overly concerned. But after all the anticipation, I was not going to settle for sub-par fried rice. I threw in a bunch of chopped green onions, a squirt or two of sesame oil and reread the instructions. Sure, there was the sauce with the onions, but when we poured it in the bowl with the pork, it didn’t seem saucy enough to punch up the flavor in a full skillet of rice.

After a bit more soy sauce and some lime juice, I finally decided to stop tinkering. It would just have to do, I thought sadly. At least it looked pretty and colorful, and even if it wasn’t amazing, it would be good enough.

Then things took a final upward swing. When I pulled out the chops to slice them, the sauce seemed to have tripled. I felt a ray of hope as I threw half of the saucy onions into the rice and gave it a good stir. Then we plated up our rice, pork and finished it with caramelized pineapple, generously drizzling extra sauce over the top.

And after sitting down with a plate that looked like this, I was practically giddy.

And oh god, was it ever good.

I am only sad I spent any time worrying about this, because when the whole plate was put together, it was amazing. The sauce from the pork was perfect and the pineapple put me over the edge.

And the next day at lunch while Ariel munched on a day-old bagel, I feasted on leftover pork and fried rice. Now I guess the race is on to see who makes it first for a second time — I can only hope I win!

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6 thoughts on “The profound ups and downs of pork chops and pineapple

  1. oh, that looks delicious! looks like it all worked out in the end. i have a pineapple sitting on my counter and was actually thinking about making pineapple fried rice this week too.

    • You should definitely give this recipe a try then. The pineapple was like candy. I ate so much of it while we were cooking, I was almost afraid there wouldn’t be any left to eat with the pork!

  2. Hi, good job with using your judgement to adjust the recipe. The pork chops look so delicious; however, I cannot abide sweet fruits in savory dishes, so I’m a little ambivalent about the rice. By the way, I saw the “in a town full of hipsters” in the title of your blog post and thought, “Hmmm… Portland is full of hipsters, I wonder…” and then I went on to read your older posts only to find out that you live in the same city I do!

    • Ha! That is hilarious that your mind immediately went to Portland. I had to laugh the other day because one of the “search engine” stats I saw was someone looking for “hipster party decor.” I’m sure they didn’t find what they were looking for! Anyways, the rice is certainly good on its own, especially with the onion sauce mixture. And the pork is really amazing. It’s totally worth it even without the pineapple.

  3. Pingback: Pork & Pineapple Revisited: Sriracha works its magic | Attempts in Domesticity

  4. Pingback: Pork fried rice finds perfection, Pok Pok style | Attempts in Domesticity

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