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Weeknight Cooking

Dinner This Week: Spicy Glazed Pork Chops

This week’s menus include Spicy Gochujang-Glazed Pork Chops; Ham, Pear, and Brie Omelet; and Sichuan Braised Tofu with Beef (Mapo Tofu) for dinner in about an hour.

Published Feb. 25, 2022.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

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Dinner 1: Spicy Gochujang-Glazed Pork Chops and Sugar Snap Peas

Game Plan: Heat the oven while prepping the ingredients for the pork chops. Start roasting the chops. While the chops are in the oven, prep the snap peas. Cook the snap peas while the chops rest in step 3.

We start our Spicy Gochujang-Glazed Pork Chops by stirring together gochujang paste and white miso—thick and intensely flavored ingredients that won't run off the chops when heated. We apply a thin coating of the glaze to the chops and slow-roast them in a low oven until the meat is juicy and tender and the glaze forms a tacky layer. Skillet-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas start in a hot skillet in a single layer, and we cook them without stirring so they can brown. Once the peas are crisp-tender, we add garlic and soy sauce and give them another couple of tosses to ensure that they are uniformly flavored. Toasted sesame seeds add texture and visual appeal.

Printable Shopping Lists: Spicy Gochujang-Glazed Pork Chops and Skillet-Roasted Sugar Snap Peas

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Dinner 2: Ham, Pear, and Brie Omelet with Romaine and Watercress Salad

Game Plan: The omelet recipe serves one, so the ingredients will need to be scaled up according to how many omelets you want to make. (Cooked and filled omelets can be held in a warm oven.) Prep the ingredients for both dishes. Cook the omelets and then toss the salad right before serving.

Ham, Pear, and Brie Omelet has a substantial filling that starts with precooking chopped ham and pear in a skillet and topping them with cheese; that way, the filling is cohesive and warmed to serving temperature. Cooking three beaten eggs in an 8-inch nonstick skillet yields an omelet that is delicate but strong enough to support the filling. Romaine and Watercress Salad combines crisp romaine lettuce with spicy, tender watercress. Thinly sliced kohlrabi and sweet apple combine cohesively with the salad greens and provide complexity.

Printable Shopping Lists: Ham, Pear, and Brie Omelet and Romaine and Watercress Salad

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Dinner 3: Mapo Tofu and Smashed Cucumbers

Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for both recipes, then smash the cucumbers and prepare the dressing. While the cucumbers sit with the salt, make the mapo tofu. When the tofu is ready, toss the cucumbers with the dressing and serve.

Our Sichuan Braised Tofu with Beef (Mapo Tofu) is potent in flavor, with balanced spiciness. We start with cubed soft tofu and poach it gently in chicken broth to help the pieces stay intact in the braise. For the sauce, we use plenty of ginger and garlic along with four Sichuan pantry powerhouses: Asian broad bean chili paste (doubanjiang), fermented black beans, Sichuan chili powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. We finish with just the right amount of cornstarch to create a velvety consistency. We pair the bold tofu with a cooling dish of Pai Huang Gua (Smashed Cucumbers). English cucumbers, which are nearly seedless and have thin, crisp skins, are placed in a zipper-lock bag and smashed into large, irregular pieces. Salting the cucumbers helps them expel excess water and breaking them into craggy pieces allows them to hold on to the dressing.

Printable Shopping ListsSichuan Braised Tofu with Beef (Mapo Tofu) and Pai Huang Gua (Smashed Cucumbers)

To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.

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