Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pork Chops with Sweet and Hot Vinegar Peppers

I've recently fell in love with my copy of Carmine's Family-Style Cookbook. Each and every recipe I have made from this book has been packed with flavor and absolutely delicious. I was intrigued with this recipe and the combination of flavors. Curious how it would all turn out, I began the brining process for the pork chops. The recipe calls for them to brine for 48 hours. I was tempted to forgo the brining process, but decided to stay true to the recipe for the first go around. I was glad I did.

The end result was a tender and spicy pork chop in a robust garlic sauce. My husband really enjoyed this and said it was his favorite Carmine recipe to date. I served it with Carmine's roasted potatoes, which are out of this world delicious. It was all gobbled up in no time and there were no leftovers. A definite make again recipe!

Pork Chops with Sweet and Hot Vinegar Peppers - Carmine's Family-Style Cookbook

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup hot water
2 cups cold water
5 black peppercorns
1 onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 stick cinnamon

Pork Chops:
4 loin pork chops, each 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
1 cup chicken stock
10 small whole sweet vinegar peppers, quartered and seeded
10 small whole hot vinegar peppers, quartered and seeded
7 tablespoons sweet vinegar pepper juice from jar
7 tablespoons hot vinegar pepper juice from jar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

To prepare the brine and brine the pork chops:
Dissolve the sugar and kosher salt in the hot water. Add the cold water and the rest of the brine ingredients. Mix the brine well and transfer it to a large resealable plastic bag. Place the pork chops in the bag, seal it, and gently shake the bag to make sure the chops are covered by the brine. Put the bag in a bowl. Refrigerate them for 2 days, turning the bag from time to time.

To Cook the Pork Chops:
Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the pork chops from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels, and set them aside. Discard the brine. In a large ovenproof saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. When the oil is hot, cook the pork chops for 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown on one side. Reduce the heat to medium-high and brown the other side of the pork chops for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook the pork chops for 3 minutes or until they are pale pink in the center and the internal temp is 150F. Transfer the chops to a platter, cover them, and keep them warm. Add the garlic to the saute pan and cook it over low heat for about 1 minute or until it is lightly browned. Add the chicken stock, sweet and hot peppers, and pepper juice, a little at a time. Taste the sauce and add only as much hot or sweet pepper juice as you like to make it pleasantly tart. Add the butter, basil, and parsley, increase the heat to medium-high, and boil the sauce for about 2 minutes. Return the chops to the pan and turn them to coat them with the sauce. Put the chops on a platter, spoon the sauce over them, and serve.

Note: This recipe really does pack a punch in the heat department. I only added about half of the pepper juices and it was really potent. I love super spicy hot foods, but 14 tablespoons of pepper juice on top of more peppers would've been too much for me.

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