In theory it sounds like a good idea to take a simple dish from a simple restaurant and get all uppity and gourmet in an attempt to improve on it.
Thus, I share with you my "marinated pork chop and spaghetti" dish inspired from New Lun Ting.
New Lun Ting is an old-school Chinatown dive that I reviewed recently on my other blog. While they serve a huge variety of Chinese dishes, most old timers know New Lun Ting as "the Pork Chop House". The pork chops they refer to are marinated and then pan-fried, doused with gravy, and then served alongside a big, hot mound of spaghetti, tomato sauce, and canned corn.
Sounds easy to prepare, right?
Well, I decided to make it a little more difficult, and no one does "more difficult" like the French. So, instead of marinating the pork chops, I made pork chop confit. Using the same technique I used on the duck legs, I used lard instead of duck fat and only allowed them to sit for a week.
Unfortunately, like the duck legs, I believe I cooked them too long since they didn't hold together well. Also, using the typical lard you find for sale in the supermarket (the kind that stays solid at room temperature) is the wrong kind to use in a confit. For one, it's hydrogenated, and you know what that means. Second, because it's hydrogenated, it doesn't ever get soft enough to carefully remove the pieces of confit meat.
The best lard to use is going to be the kind you render yourself. In fact, here's a fascinating article regarding rendering your own lard.
Other than the pork chop confit, I stayed pretty true to the original and didn't get crazy gourmet on it. Once I removed the pork chop pieces from the lard and wiped them off, I simply fried them over medium high heat until they were heated through...which is the cool thing about confit: it's super gourmet Fast Slow Food.
Fast Slow Food? Yes. You'll find out.
I did use frozen corn instead of canned and sautéed it in a little butter, garlic, and olive oil.
Added to that were freshly chopped tomatoes (yes, I know it's totally unseasonal; deal with it). Once they had sautéed a minute or so, I added some freshly chopped thyme and oregano and plated it.
As you see, it sorta looks the same. It tastes pretty good. However, it wasn't New Lun Ting's dish.
Some things you just can't improve on.
Some things you just can't get uppity with.