The other day, the Boyfriend and I were totally fed up and decided to dig ourselves out from under the piles and toss things with ruthless abandon. Of course, because he's The Boyfriend and by his very title must be kind, sweet, and endlessly in touch with my needs, amidst the purge, he pulled out a dining section and cried, "Wait! Did you see this? Don't you want it? It's got all kinds of recipes..." What a sweetheart. Of course I kept it.
And lucky for him that I did. In it was a recipe by Melissa Clark for a quick braise of pork chops that has all the flavor of a day-long event. It's a simple sauce of tomatoes, garlic, onion and rosemary, with anchovies added for that hard to identify briny/funkiness. After our massive newspaper toss of 09, the Boyfriend and I took a stroll through Chelsea Market where we were lucky to get a grand tour of the newly opened Dickson's Farmstand Meats, the glorious creation by my high school friend, and now go to meat-expert, Jake Dickson. (You may remember him from the days of Hamlet the pig.) The store is amazing, and once the kitchen is fully up and running, I'm sure will be totally overrun with customers. He's already had a visit (and tweet) from Ruth Reichl, and a ton of press, and will soon have an even greater honor bestowed upon him (if accepted), that of A Mouse Bouche's Baker's Dozen interviewee! Lo and behold, Jake had some gorgeous thick pork chops, perfect for my trash-bin rescued recipe. We grabbed the rest of the ingredients (what I could remember of them after a quick glance at the paper) and headed home to cook.
The next day's dinner. Delicious.
If you're planning on cooking for someone (just anyone, no one in particular, not that I have anyone in mind :)), may I recommend this meal. It's very autumnal (love that word), very tasty, manly enough if your guest happens to be of the male persuasion, still elegant, and when you get down to it, you can do like the Boyfriend and eat the last bits with your hands. tres sexy. Well, maybe not, but tres tres tasty.
Melissa Clark's Braised Pork Chops (adapted only slightly by the Mouse)
2 1 1/2-inch-thick bone-in pork loin chops (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more for seasoning pork
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more for seasoning pork
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced (the Mouse used 2 large shallots and some leftover caramelized yellow onions)
3 large rosemary sprigs
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large can of plum tomatoes, reserving some of the juice so the sauce doesn't get too soupy (Clark calls for a mix of yellow and red fresh tomatoes)
6 anchovy fillets
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse pork chops and pat dry with a paper towel. Season generously with salt and pepper. In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon oil. Sear chops until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes a side. Transfer to a plate.
2. Add remaining tablespoon oil to skillet and sauté onion and rosemary until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Add tomatoes, anchovies and remaining salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, about 8 minutes.
4. Add pork chops to skillet, spooning sauce over chops. Cover skillet and transfer to oven to bake until a thermometer inserted into center of meat reads 145 degrees, about 15 minutes. For me it took much longer but that may be because I was raised by our mother and am terrified of undercooking pork. Allow chops to rest for 5 minutes in pan. Serve with some sort of starch. Polenta would be good, or crusty bread. The potatoes were also delicious.
Yield: 2 servings.