View Full Version : Really Stupid Cooking Question re: Adapting Recipes

06-28-2008, 07:02 PM
I get myself in trouble w/my husband on this issue all the time. So I thought I'd ask here.

I need to make 5 meals for tomorrow's Supper Swap. Each of us cooks a mondo quantity of one dinner and divvies it up, then we trade. It's lovely b/c of the cost savings from buying in quantity, the time savings in only cooking once, and the energy savings in not having to think about dinner each night. Just pick one out from the freezer and that's it!

I want to use up some pork chops and a bag of onions (no idea WHY I thought I needed all those onions).

So here's this recipe for Cocoa and Spice Slow-Roasted Pork (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/COCOA-AND-SPICE-SLOW-ROASTED-PORK-WITH-ONIONS-240744).

Couldn't I accomplish basically the same thing by coating pork chops w/those yummy spices and cooking them on low for a spell? Doesn't that sound tasty?

I was thinking that, the onions and a bunch of egg noodles w/broccoli thrown in ought to be an interesting dinner.

My husband hates it when I mess around with recipes. I say, what's the fun of following directions all the time?

OTOH, I don't wanna get kicked out of the Supper Swap.

06-28-2008, 08:20 PM
I modify recipes all the time. That's half the fun of cooking -- experimenting!

I'm not convinced about the substitution of pork chops for pork shoulder, only because I haven't had much luck slow cooking pork chops. No matter what I cook them with or in, they always end up kind of dry. It's just a different texture and consistency than a pork shoulder or pork roast, so you won't get the same results. The flavor would probably be just fine, I'd just cook them way less time than the cut that's called for in the recipe.

Your supper swap sounds great!

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
06-28-2008, 08:29 PM
For some, the recipe is a sacred set of steps to be followed. For others, the recipe is like a guide to how it worked for the first person who ever cooked it. I am of the latter school, my wife of the former. We have worked it out.

I call these two schools of cooking 'Prescriptivism' and 'Descriptivism'. :D

06-29-2008, 12:31 AM
It will be fine.

06-29-2008, 12:49 AM
There's certainly nothing wrong with modifying recipes, but it helps to know how the pieces fit together. Also, big changes entail more risk than small ones. Here, I agree with Shayna (and respectfully disagree with lissener) that substituting chops for shoulder is not a good idea. The two cuts cook very differently, mainly because shoulder has collagen and chops do not. (Collagen is a protein which cooks down to gelatin; it's what makes pot roasts juicy.)

It probably would be possible to construct a chop recipe using the same flavors, but the modification in technique would be a major rewrite. For example, you could cook the onions separately for a long time (could be done on the stove rather than in the oven), use this with the seasonings to prepare a sauce, cook the chops quickly, then pour the sauce over. Or, more simply, you could make another recipe with the chops, one designed for them.

06-29-2008, 12:53 AM
Sorry, meant to expand.

Anyway, what you're basically asking is, "Am I allowed to cook pork chops using these ingredients and techniques?"

Well, why not? those flavors will work well with pork of any cut. Granted, if you want fall-apart-tender pork for a sandwich, you should use a shoulder. But if you want to cook pork chops in such a way that it will taste good, that's as a good a recipe as any and better than most.

06-29-2008, 08:20 AM
Thanks for your feedback and suggestions! I'll do what you guys have suggested, cook the porkchops plain and use the spices & onion to make a separate sauce, like PBear42 said.

Usually we just douse them with garlic, pepper, salt, etc. I thought a different kind of flavor would be good.

Le Ministre de l'au-delà and Shayna, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one! Thanks lissener!

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