Red-Wine Braised Pork Chops

January 3, 2012

I wanted my two sons to whole-heartedly enjoy my first recipe of the New Year, so I played it safe with Pork Chops. Usually I’ve only braised entire roasts or other large pieces of meat; never individual cuts. The technique proved very successful; and perfect for a lazy winter’s day (i.e. little actual effort, great smells for hours and hours, warm kitchen). Don’t be put off by the 4 hour cooking time from start to finish; these wine-braised pork chops actually require very little effort. They are brined and slow braising to kept them very moist. Also an exceptionally long rest of 35 to 40 minute helped ensure the pork didn’t lose their juiciness. My only complain is that without  searing the chops; the meat looked grey and unappetizing. In fact, the meat was tender and flavorful, and it is only it’s appearance that is unappetizing. 4-stars.

First recipe of 2012

Comments:

  1. As I said, the recipe does not sear the pork chops. Instead, it relies on trimming away a portion of the chops that will not be eaten and searing only those trimmings. Next time, I will sear the pork on one side for both presentation and flavor. To prevent cupping, I will make small release cuts, something Chris Kimball didn’t try.
  2. In step 10, reducing the liquid to 1 cup doesn’t quite do far enough. I suggest extending the reducing time 8 or 9 minutes; reducing to 3/4-cup.
  3. When shopping, Chris Kimball suggests looking for chops with a small eye and lots of marbling; perfect for braising. Avoid excessively lean pork chops, which will dry out even when braised.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $14.50.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 3:00 PM. Finish time 7:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

Salt and pepper
4 bone-in pork blade chops, 1″ thick (2-1/2 to 3 pounds)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 onions
5 sprigs fresh thyme plus 1/4 teaspoon minced
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2″ long piece ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup ruby port
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley

  1. Cut your onions in half, then slice them thin. Peel your 2 garlic cloves and smash them. Peel and cut off 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger; then crushed to release more flavor.
  2. Add 1-1/2 quarts cold water (6 cups) to Dutch oven and whisk in 3 tablespoons salt until dissolved. Add pork to brining liquid, cover, and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  3. Remove pork from brining liquid and dry the chops using paper towels. Trim away and reserve the meat, fat and any cartilage that is on the opposite side of the rib bones. Cut the trimmings into 1″ long pieces. Discard brine, rinse and dry your Dutch oven.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium-high burner until it begins to shimmer. Brown pork trimmings on all sides for 7 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, set an oven rack to the lower-middle position of your oven and pre-heat to 275-degrees.
  5. Reduce burner to medium. Add sliced onions, thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, bay leaves, smashed ginger, and ground allspice. Cook for 7 minutes until the onions become golden brown; stir occasionally.
  6. Add wine, port, and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to Dutch oven. Reduce for 7 minutes until it becomes slightly syrupy. Add 1 cup of chicken broth, and work the onions/pork scraps to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Bring up to a simmer; 2 minutes. Lay the pork chops on top of onions/pork scraps.
  7. Cover the Dutch oven, and place on lower-middle oven rack. Bake in 275-degrees oven for 1-1/2 hours until meat is tender.
  8. Remove pot from oven and let chops rest for 30 minutes; still in covered pot. Place pork chops on serving platter and loosely tent using aluminum foil.
  9. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Strain the braising liquid, and fish out pork scraps and add to serving platter to rest with the pork. Use a rubber spatula to press out all the liquid, and discard the remaining solids. Pour braising liquid into a fat separator and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
  10. Wipe out Dutch oven using paper towels. Pour braising liquid from fat separator directly into Dutch oven. Reduce liquid over medium-high burner for 7 minutes; until it measures just under 1 cup. Meanwhile mince your parsley and remaining thyme.
  11. Remove pot from heat, and whisk in butter, minced thyme, and a final 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper according to taste.
  12. Place pork on four individual serving plates. Pour sauce over chops, sprinkle with minced parsley.
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