Last weekend, we ventured to Delaware to celebrate Pop’s birthday. What could I cook for him? I needed a second dinner request when his favorite “bratwurst and and sauerkraut” sounded less crowd-friendly. Second pick: Pork chops. Andrew was concerned, having only had dry, flavorless pork chops. I’d never even seen a pork chop, but surely it’s all a matter of the right recipe?
It is indeed. Thank you, Gourmet magazine.
This was a fast, flawless meat dish. Because it’s a striaghtforward recipe, and sometimes that’s what really makes great cooking. The carnivores in my family agreed this was genuinely better than any restaurant chop they had ever experienced. And this is a do-able dinner: sear it, roast it, sauce it.
Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Cranberry Reduction
tweaked from Gourmet, 2001
For the pork chops
4 (1 1/4-inch-thick) rib pork chops
1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the sauce
2 medium shallots, grated on the large holes of a box grater
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
3/4 cup chicken stock or broth
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried, crumbled
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled until added at the end
Before you begin, place the dried cranberries in the chicken stock to plump up for the sauce.
Cook the pork chops: Pat chops dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in your largest skillet over moderately high heat until very hot but not smoking. Heat the pan for at least a minute to caramelize the meat. Brown the chops, leaving untouched for about 3 minutes per side.
If the chops are a tight fit in the pan, brown just two at a time or use two skillets.
Transfer skillet to oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally 2 inches into meat registers 155°F, 7 to 9 minutes. Check the internal temperature at 6 minutes so the meat does not overcook.
Transfer chops with tongs to a platter, leaving fat in skillet, and cover chops loosely with foil to keep warm.
in the same skillet…
Make the sauce: This sauce may sound fussy, but having all the ingredients ready to go in the skillet just means pour, stir, pour, stir until the sauce reduces and thickens. Only a few minutes.
Sauté shallots in fat remaining in skillet over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes.
Add wine and deglaze by boiling over high heat, scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half.
Add cranberries and stock and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to swell, about 2 minutes.
Stir in brown sugar and thyme and simmer, stirring about 3 minutes more minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in butter until incorporated, then season with salt and pepper.