Don't fear slightly pink pork. New guidelines from the USDA have decreased the minimum internal temperature from 160° (for medium) to 145° (medium-rare is now considered safe) with a three-minute stand time after removing from heat. The meat will be moist and tender, and leaner cuts will be more succulent. (The minimum temperature for ground pork remains 160°.)
Coastal Living OCTOBER 2011
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 5 ingredients and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub mixture over pork chops, and let stand at room temperature 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in preserves, agave nectar, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Pour apricot mixture over pork chops. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 145° (medium-rare) or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from heat, and let stand 3 minutes. Serve with pan juices.
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