Friday, January 6, 2012

Chop to it

I guess I’m on a bit of a pepper kick (if two posts with dishes involving pepper can be called a kick).

I spotted the original recipe for this on Serious Eats this a day after I stumbled across the downtown location of Cumbrae Meats a week after reading about the latter in the Joe Beef cookbook. I love maple and black pepper and had been craving a good pork chop for a while, so it seemed like synchronicity at work.
The chops themselves were magnificent; thick and flavourful. The leek-maple sauce was a nice combination of sweetness, peppery heat and a hint of tartness that complimented the flavours of the pork nicely. In future, I’ll forgo the marriage of convenience here between the leeks and sauce (the leeks made it into this dish only by virtue of having been taking up room in my crisper for the last two weeks). I’d also like to try the sauce with different cuts of pork (like tenderloin) or perhaps even chicken. My leek-y version is here, but you can find a link to the original recipe below.

Pork chops with maple black pepper leeks
Adapted from Eggs on Sunday

2 bone-in, thick cut pork chops (at least 1-inch thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 medium leeks (white parts only), rinsed sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat your oven to 200F. Season the pork chops well with 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Pour the oil into large ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chops. Cook the chops until they are well browned and their temperature reaches 120F with an instant read thermometer (about 6-8 minutes per side). Set the chops on a platter and keep in the oven to keep warm.

Place turn the heat to medium. Add the shallots, thyme and leek and cook until beginning to soften.

Remove pan from heat, pour in the vinegar, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits. Return to heat and simmer until vinegar is reduced. Add the maple syrup and the crushed black pepper. Return to a simmer and cook until leeks are soft and sauce is reduced to a glaze.

Return chops and juices to pan (check pork first to ensure internal temperature has increased to at least 140F), bring to a quick boil, turn chops to coat and serve.

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