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Lager and Lemongrass Pork Chops

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This simple but sublime dish, a Vietnamese suon nuong xa, draws its character from lemongrass, the fragrant herb that’s a signature of Southeast Asian cuisine. Combine it with shallots and garlic, sugar and soy (and for an added thrill, a clean, crisp lager), and unlock the secret to some of the planet’s most delectable dishes. Serve the chops with small dishes of nuoc cham—the dipping sauce that’s as innate to the Vietnamese table as ketchup is to the American one—and a quick pickle of carrot matchsticks to add sunshine to the plate.

Makes: 4

  • Pork Chops:
  • 8 4- to 5-ounce thin-cut, bone-in pork chops
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 cup Beerlao
  • 14 cup minced shallots
  • 14 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, plus additional
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 14 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pickled Carrots:
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and julienned into matchsticks (about 2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Nuoc Cham:
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 13 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 12 teaspoon crushed red pepper


• Blend the beer, shallots, brown sugar, lemongrass, fish sauce, 1 tablespoon peanut oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and pepper in a food processor until well-combined. Place the pork chops in a shallow baking dish and add the marinade, gently massaging it into both sides of the chops. Cover and refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, turning once.

• To prepare the pickled carrots, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a wide, shallow bowl; stir until sugar dissolves. Add the carrots, tossing well to coat. Cover and set aside, tossing twice, for at least two hours. Drain before serving. 

• For the nuoc cham sauce, use the back of a fork to mash the garlic, sugar and crushed pepper into a paste. Scrape into a small bowl, stir in the hot water and let cool slightly. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce; set aside.

• Remove the pork from the marinade, brushing off any excess. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the pan, and grill the pork 2 to 3 minutes per side or until just cooked through. Transfer to a platter, cover with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve the pork chops with the pickled carrots and nuoc cham for dipping.



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