Saturday, February 19, 2011

Long Pepper Pork Chops with Madeira

We've blogged about quick-grilling chops on the Guardian Service Griddle/Broiler, but for thicker cuts (like these lovely pork chops) we tried a slower approach in the large Guardian Service Chicken Fryer, with its "self-sealing, self-basting cover."

The Tested Recipes cookbook provides several solid mid-century chop recipes ("Baked Pork Chops with Pineapple," "Swiss Steak") but the basic concept—sear, then roast—creates juicy, flavor-infused chops.

Using a vegetable (in this recipe, onions) to support the meat as a "roasting rack" is a key technique with waterless cooking and further flavors the meat while allowing the vapors of Madeira to envelop the chops as they simmer.

Andrew's brother recently brought us an ancient spice that's quickly become an obsession: long pepper. Its spike-shaped fruit is slightly hotter than its cousin black pepper and has a pungent aroma and tang that compliments pork perfectly. If you don't have a foodie-in-law with underground connections, long pepper can be found at Indian groceries and specialty spice suppliers online.

Long Pepper Pork Chops with Madeira

4 thick-cut pork chops
1 tsp sea salt
3 spikes long pepper, ground in mortar and pestle
3 Tbsp. safflower oil (for neutral taste and high heat)
2 Tbsp. Madeira wine (or sherry, fruit juice, etc)
Simple Garlic Prune Gravy (see below)

  1. Prep the chops (rinse, pat dry and trim of excess fat). Optional: render fat for use in gravy.
  2. Rub chops well with oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Place the fryer over medium heat until it reaches the water test "ball stage." 
  4. Sear the chops on all sides until browned, 90 seconds per side.
  5. Remove chops from pan. Place four slices of onion in the pan, spacing equally to support each chop. Place chops on onions. 
  6. Sprinkle Madeira over the chops, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 mins.

Served with a sauce and vegetables (we served Guardian Service potatoes and golden beets cooked in the Economy Trio Cookers and a Garlic Prune Sauce) this makes an elegant meal for four for $20-25 (depending on the cut of meat) in under 2 hours.

Simple Garlic Prune Gravy

4 pitted prunes
2 Tbsp rendered pork fat and/or cooking oil
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 orange
1 cup wine (red or white)
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, allspice, dry mustard (like Colman's), dried parsley
corn starch or barley malt (optional, for thickening)
salt and pepper to taste

In a small cooker (like the Guardian Service Tom Thumb), sauté garlic for two minutes in rendered pork fat and/or cooking oil, then add prunes, parsley and orange juice and cook for 10-12 min until reduced to a sauce. Add spices and corn starch or barley malt for thickening and keep warm in the Guardian Service Gravy Boat to serve with baked pork chops.