Asian Fusion Pork Chops

For this Valentine's Day (or any special dinner) try this recipe. Pork chops are the obvious choice, but this will work great with ham steaks as well. We serve over rice and garnish with sliced radish, green onions, cilantro, and lime wedge. Worth and I can easily eat a pork chop each, but if there are other dishes, you could easily have 2 pork chops per 3 people. This recipe requires some advance thought in that the pork is marinated, but once the pork is on the stove it goes pretty quickly. On occasion, we have made this recipe come together in as little as one hours time by putting the marinade together as the chops undergo a quick thaw. While a little extra time is ideal, this recipe never fails to satisfy.

1 pack PTB bone-in loin chops or 1 pack PTB bone-in ham steaks
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar or lime juice
hot pepper -- we use dried cayenne chili chopped up but any spicy chili will do (adjust to your spice level)
1 inch piece of ginger minced
a couple pieces of star anise (optional)
bay leaf
2 tsp corn starch
1 Tbsp sugar
radishes, green onions, cilantro -- chopped for garnish

In advance, thaw the pork. A few hours or the day before you want to eat, marinate the pork. In a pyrex container or glass bowl large enough to hold the pork, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, hot pepper, ginger, star anise, and bay leaf. Stir in the corn starch to dissolve completely. Add pork, flipping over to distribute the marinade, and flip again about half way through the marinating time.
Preheat the oven to 350. Heat and oil an oven-proof skillet large enough to accommodate the pork on medium high heat. Sprinkle each side of the pork with a light coating of sugar and then sear in the skillet. If using ham steaks, the edges may curl a bit, but don't worry. Sear each side to nicely browned and caramelized, approximately 3 minutes. Slide the skillet into the oven and cook until an internal meat thermometer reads 145 (approximately 5-8 minutes depending on thickness). Take the pork out of the skillet and let rest on a cutting board. Add the marinade to the skillet over medium heat while stirring continuously until it has reached a thick, syrupy consistency. Serve the pork over rice, add the soy sauce "gravy" and finish with garnishes of cilantro, radish, green onions, and/or lime wedge. Eat immediately. Additionally, you may slice the pork into thick slabs approximately 1/2 thick and serve over rice for an alternate presentation (recommended for ham steaks)